Fight Rewind: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II at UFC 52

So close, yet so far for Frank Trigg against Matt Hughes at UFC 52. Photo by Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

Welcome back to Fight Rewind where we take you back to a classic fight (that can either be famous or infamous) from UFC, PRIDE, Strikeforce, EliteXC, King of the Cage, WFA and more. Today we take a look at one of the top fights in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The fight: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II (UFC welterweight title fight)

The date: April 16, 2005

The location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

The event: UFC 52

Why it was memorable: Simply put, this, in my opinion, is the greatest fight in the history of the UFC. The two first met at UFC 45 and it was Hughes who came out on top with a standing rear-naked choke. Shift forward two-and-a-half years later and the two crossed paths again on the biggest UFC pay-per-view ever at the time, fresh off the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.

For many fans who were tuning into a UFC pay-per-view for the first time, myself included, this is a fight they'll never forget. During the introductions, Trigg stood with his back to Hughes, turning around only to acknowledge when his name was announced. Hughes was announced and both Vanilla Ice and Cindy Crawford were impressed. When the two were brought to the center of the cage by referee Mario Yamasaki, the two touched faces and Hughes pushed Trigg away. Trigg responded by blowing Hughes a kiss.

The two tied up early and Trigg would look to work knees inside. He kept working them and one caught Hughes below the belt. Hughes looked to Yamasaki for a stoppage but none was coming. Yamasaki told Trigg to watch the knees and as Hughes ran away in pain, Trigg dropped Hughes and went in looking to finish. Trigg took top position and mounted Hughes against the cage. Hughes gave his back and Trigg looked for the rear-naked choke.

"Could this be payback for the first fight," Joe Rogan wondered on the telecast.

With three minutes left in the round, Trigg was in great position. He was working for the choke and Hughes took his hands away to defend to post on the canvas, allowing Trigg access to his neck. Hughes, though, broke the hold and in one swift motion, scooped Trigg up, walked across the cage and slammed him to one of the loudest roars ever heard during a UFC fight.

"From the brink of defeat and he pulls it out," Rogan exclaimed.

"Are you kidding me," Goldberg screamed over the deafening crowd.

Now it was Hughes' turn to deliver punishment and that he did. From the time Trigg's back hit the canvas with 2:02 left in the round, Hughes would mount Trigg, deliver punishment, busting him open and then submitting him with 55 seconds left in the round. As Hughes locked in the hold and Trigg tapped, the crowd roared nearly as loud as it did when Hughes drilled Trigg into the canvas.

Without a doubt, one of the best fights in UFC history.

"That man is as great a champion as we've ever witness here in the Ultimate Fighting Championship," Goldberg said.

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