Former UFC welterweight kingpin Matt Hughes was scheduled to take on Diego Sanchez at UFC 135, scheduled for Denver on September 24th. Now there is word that Sanchez has a broken hand, and the potential replacement is Josh Koscheck.
This seems like a really bad matchup for Hughes, and hopefully someone let’s him know. UFC President Dana White, in his handling of Chuck Lidell has proven saavy in his handling of fading fighters but he may have missed this one.
Hughes is already a hall of famer, and his reputation is still in great shape, despite going 4-4 in his last 8 fights. A person close to Hughes revealed to me that Hughes has a lot of MMA money in the bank, and he was never a high lifestyle kind of guy, so he has saved his money and is set for life. He purchased a couple of big John Deere tractors for the farm I was told, but he didn’t blow his money partying.
So why is he still fighting, and why would he consider a fight against Koschek, who would seem at this point to be a little faster, a little stronger and a little meaner?
My concern is that MMA get a reputation like boxing, where faded stars continue to roll out and fight well past their primes, and they do the sport and themselves great damage. Have you heard Meldrick Taylor or Evander Holyfield in interviews lately? It is both scary and sad. Roy Jones, once far and away the best boxer on the planet recently got creamed by a journeyman.
Listening to Hughes talk now, he still has his senses and he has always been a bright guy. And he is still clearly talented enough that he might pull off the upset against Koscheck, but it would be that, an upset. Hughes used to be favored in ALL his fights, and that just isn’t the case anymore.
Matt could ride off into the sunset now with that cowboy song of his playing and live the rest of his life as a legend in MMA. I hope that is the case, I’d rather see that than have him fight a few more years, take more losses that tarnish his sterling legacy, and possibly become a negative to the entire sport.