Matthew Allen Hughes; October 13, 1973, Hillsboro, Illinois, USA – American athlete, professional wrestler, specialist in mixed martial arts (English MMA). All-American wrestler. The two-time world champion in mixed martial arts in the UFC welterweight category (2001-2004, 2004-2006), member of the UFC Hall of Fame. Hughes owns a record for the UFC-18 victory.
Matt Hughes was born on October 13, 1973 in the town of Hillsborough, Illinois, USA, in a farmer’s family. In my youth I was fond of sports, in particular the struggle. During his school years I played in regional championships, with varying success. He became a freestyle wrestling champion in the state of Illinois twice. Four times, he became the US Fighting Champion among juniors, speaking for his college team. Lincoln and the University of Illinois.
In mixed martial arts, Hughes began in 1998 with successful performances in the jet-kun and tournaments in the American series “Extreme Challenge”, whose competition lasted for four years, losing only to the American Dennis Gollman. Matt participated in the two “Eights” (tournament tournaments) under the auspices of “Extreme Challenge” – the first loser in the final of the already mentioned Hollman, and the second won, defeating each of the three rivals ahead of time.
In the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Matt falls in September 1999. He makes his debut at stage 22 of the UFC and successfully fights two. The third fight, again against Dennis Hallman, he loses, and for some time fights in other rings: in the American series WEF (World Extreme Battle Championship) and the “Extreme Challenge”, in the Japanese series RINGS, and also takes part in competitions of various types of struggle .
Joe returns to UFC at the end of 2001, already an experienced mixed-style fighter with dozens of wins in the account. He receives an offer to take part in the battle for the title of world champion in mixed martial arts in the welterweight category, against the current champion, Canadian Carlos Newton. In May 2001, Newton took this title from a friend and mentor Matt Hughes, veteran UFC Pet Miletich, so victory over Newton became a matter of honor for Matt. The double fight of the two fighters, held in the framework of the 34th stage of the championship, was complicated and equal in the activity of rivals. At the second minute of the second round, in the struggle on the ground, Newton captured Hugo with a “triangle” (strangulation). Overcoming the resistance of the opponent, on the verge of loss of consciousness from the suffocation, Hughes was able to climb, lifting over Carlos Newton, and throwing a ring on the floor of the ring sent him to a knockout. Thus Matt won the title of world champion.
Matt Hughes retains the championship belt for three years, once again defending the title against dangerous opponents, and eventually inferior to the primacy of BJ Penn, who went to welterweight with a lightweight specially for meeting with Hughes. This fight took place on January 31, 2004 under the 46th stage of the UFC. Penn won Hughes by conquering, having strangled hands at the end of the first round.
However, the title of the champion was not long occupied: without waiting for revenge, Penn switched to appearances in the K-1 tournaments, motivating his way out of the absence of strong opponents, so the UFC administration stripped him of his belt. The title of the champion was announced vacant, and the contenders were Matt Hughes and the ambitious Canadian fighter George St Pierre. By that time, Saint-Pierre had not yet posed a great threat to Hughes, and the former world champion quickly regained his title, overcoming the young Canadian with a painful hand in hand. For the high technique of reception, Matt was awarded the “Conquest of the Evening” Award.
This time, the championship belt remains in the ownership of Hughes for two years. He is successful in defending the title, as well as rating fights, the most famous of which was the fight with the legend of mixed martial arts Royce Gracie. Gracie, who has spent only five quite ambiguous battles for 10 years and aspired for new achievements, himself insisted on meeting with Hughes. The battle took place on May 27, 2006, within the 60th stage of the UFC and became one of the most important events of the sports world of that period. Widely advertised, this event attracted the attention of about 15,000 spectators. For participating in the duel, Royce Grecie received $ 400,000, four times more than Hughes. However, this fight he lost. The fight quickly went to the parterre, where Matt overcame the legendary fighter hailstones.
In September of that year, a rematch with BJ Penn. This time the battle ended with a pre-term, victory for Hughes and a technical knockout for Penn, who for a long time has been trying to gain a welterweight belt. Matt Hughes puts a record on the number of successful title defense – 7 times.
The era of “the most dominant champion in the history of UFC” was completed at the end of 2006 – at the 65th stage of the Absolute Fighting Championship, George Saint-Pierre picked the champion title at Matt Hughes. The defeat for Matt ended with the fight-revenge and Saint-Pierre, their third battle, and the fight with the Brazilian fighter Thiago Alves, after which Hughes announced his retirement career.
At the beginning of 2009, he returned to the octagon. The motivation for the champion, in his words, was only a desire to compete again. He had a successful fight with the former UFC champion Matt Sutherlo, who was awarded the “Fight of the Evening” prize. In September 2009, it became aware of the signing by Hughes of the contract for several more battles.
2010 started for the ex-champion successfully: at stage 112 of the UFC, he won the technical knockout of another Gracie-Renzo Gracie clan. On May 28, 2010, Matt Hughes became the eighth member of the UFC Hall of Fame.
At stage 117, UFC Hug received a spectacular victory over the strong rival and Greasy High School – Ricardo Almeida. The «Conquest of the evening» prize, the fourth such award in the career of the champion, marked the suffocation that ended with the technical subjugation of the rival (loss of consciousness).
Matt’s successful move ended on November 20, 2010, when he met U-turn at the 123rd UFC stage third in his career at BJ Penn. Penn returned to welterweight after the queue of defeats and loss of title in the lightweight category, and sought a confident victory. The battle lasted 21 seconds. The ex-champions entered the blow in the course of which a “baby Jay” right-packed straight hit Hughes in a knockdown and quickly landed on the ground. In a blitz interview after the fight Matt Houz expressed great disappointment with the outcome of the fight and failed to answer questions about his future in the sport. Ten months later, the veteran returned to the octagon. Matt had to meet Diego Sanchez, the winner of the “Absolute Fighter”, but was injured and replaced by Josh Koscheck, who was among the top ten fighters in the category of 77 kg. The battle of two base fighters lasted from the stand and ended up for Hughes with a knockout in the last seconds of the front round.
Matt Hughes long time practiced and trained in the team of Peta Miletic “Miletich Fighting Systems”, but in 2007 founded his own sports team, which is still headed – “Hughes Intensive Training”. The main goal of this organization is to prepare fighters of mixed style with specialization in free fight.
Matt Hughes was the head coach in the combat real-show “Absolute Fighter” in the second and sixth seasons. Horde fighters won both times.
Matt, his wife Odra, their son Joy and daughter Anna Grace reside in their home town of Hillsborough, Illinois.
Matt has an older sister Beth and twin brother Mark, younger than Matt for five minutes. Mark Gyuz is also a professional mixed-style fighter.
In 2010 he faced and defeated Renzo Gracie, and during the event UFC 114: Rampage Vs. Evans the same Hughes was introduced in the UFC hall of fame as one of the greatest fighters in the history of US promotion.
In the following years he obtained his 45-th career victory against a Ricardo Almeida now close to retirement and was badly defeated in the trilogy against B.J. Penn and the next match against Josh Koscheck, raising rumors about his upcoming retirement from the activity.
After more than a year of inactivity in January 2013, he announced his definitive retirement as an MMA agonist, putting an end to a career that had lasted 15 years and that saw him as the absolute protagonist in the UFC with the victory of the welterweight title twice and with a partial record in the promotion of 18-7.
During the International Fight Week held in July 2015, his second meeting with Frank Trigg during UFC 52 was introduced in the Hall of Fame.