Note: This is a column I wrote for MMA Latest News
It’s been three and a half years since mixed martial arts fans watched multi-time welterweight champion Matt Hughes grace the octagon.
Hughes’ accomplishments are plenty, including being a two-time UFC welterweight champion with seven total title defenses. He’s also one of the only two fighters to beat Royce Gracie.
In his last fight Hughes was knocked out by Josh Koscheck late in the first round. Since his retirement, Hughes has been a vice president of athlete development and government relations for the UFC.
Like every competitor who hangs up his gloves, Hughes misses fighting. In an interview with Germany’s Groundandpound.de, Hughes said one phone call from UFC President Dana White would get him back in the octagon. Hughes also acknowledged his age as a factor.
“I’m a little old, I’m 41 years old and I’d have to be careful with my opponent, but I’m still a competitor and I’d love to get in there.”
Hughes is one of the all-time great 170-pound fighters in the UFC but I am a little leery when older fighters who have retired talk about making a comeback. It’s noting against Hughes, I just don’t want to see him get hurt. Over the years a few fighters have tried calling out Hughes – most notably Dan Hardy. That said, he brought up an interesting prospect for his return bout – Matt Serra.
“Matt Serra and I had a good match this last time and we’ve got our differences. So he’s been asking for a rematch forever and I’d give it to him if he wanted to.”
Hughes and Serra had a good rivalry during the latter’s short run as the UFC welterweight champion that culminated in coaching “The Ultimate Fighter 6” and a fight at UFC 98. The hall of famer came away with a decision win in a bout that was a “Fight of the Night.”
I would be on board with Hughes vs. Serra II. The first fight was a show stealer but also left some unanswered questions.
If the Serra rematch doesn’t materialize, another bout Hughes could have is with Gracie, one of the godfathers of the UFC.
Hughes and Gracie fought in 2006 in a 175-pound catchweight bout where the former finishing the legend in the first round. Gracie has said the Hughes fight wasn’t his best performance and would like a rematch, according to White.
While Hughes said a phone call from White would be the thing that gets him back in the octagon, the UFC president hasn’t expressed any interest in seeing the hall of famer return to the cage. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if White told Hughes “heck no” after reading the interview.