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Matt Hughes close to retirement, wants to open 'judging academy'

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UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes has been saying for a little while that he's likely retired, but hasn't officially hung em up yet. He was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani today and basically had the same thing to say - he wouldn't completely rule out another fight, but he's definitely leaning towards retirement. It appears that he has lost some of his desire to compete:

"I wouldn't say I've closed the door [on my career], but I've got my hand on the door handle," Hughes said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "You know it's been over a year since I've fought, and I've having a good time with my family raising my kids, which I think is a bigger thing than me competing, making sure my family is raised right. So I'm having a good time at home with the family, and kind of, maybe, lost the desire just a little bit to compete. I'm not retired yet, but it is looking like that's where I'm going."

His wife and Dana White had been leaning on him to retire, saying that he has nothing left to prove in the sport. He defended Dana, saying that he understands now that White's retirement talk was fair and he understands it better now after a year on the sidelines:

"A year ago, I was 100-percent go," Hughes recalled. "I wanted to compete, was wanting to know who the next opponent he was thinking of. And now, within a year, it's turned into, maybe [Dana's] right. I am a year older, and don't move the way I used to. I was not very happy a year ago, but after a year I can see what he was saying and now I see why he was saying what he did."

One thing he has turned his attention towards is possibly working with the UFC to create an 'academy' to help MMA judges all get on the same page with scoring, since it varies so much from person to person. He also shares what he thinks is most important in scoring - damage:

"When I'm a judge, I can only help the fighters that are right in front of me," Hughes explained. "I would rather have a piece of a school, or help these judges figure out the best way to judge. Of course, I wouldn't be the lead person. I wouldn't want any financial interest in it whatsoever. But by gosh, these judges need to have some knowledge. They can't go from a boxing atmosphere and think that [MMA] is going to be the same way. You just can't."

"I've judged a lot of matches and I've reffed a lot of matches, and so I think I could help out in figuring out what the best criteria is. My number one criteria when it comes to judging a mixed martial arts fight is damage. Whoever does the most damage probably ought to win the round. If you're on bottom, if you're on top, if you're on your feet, whoever does the cumulative most damage in a round, is probably going to win. And some of these judges think that because one guy was on top the whole five minutes, just because he was on top, they think he should have won the round. The bottom guy could have been throwing great elbows, creating a huge amount of damage, but they just don't see that."

I like the idea of it, but White has been quite insistent that the UFC doesn't handle judging and it's on the commissions, so Hughes might have to work with them. Either way, it's good that he's still interested in giving back to the sport, and I'm sure he has a lot of wisdom to offer.

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