In mid-March, talks about the return of UFC Hall-of-Famer Matt Hughes first surfaced. On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, the 43-year-old former welterweight champion restated his comeback plans.
Prior to retirement, Hughes was on a two-fight skid, losing to B.J. Penn and Josh Koscheck, both via first round knockout. Speaking to Ariel Helwani, he clarified that he decided to retire in 2013 not because he wanted to. Rather, it was upon the advice of his wife, and UFC president Dana White.
“I would love to come back. I didn’t want to retire in the first place,” Hughes said (via MMA Fighting). “My wife said she didn’t want me to fight anymore. It wasn’t as fun as when I was just out kicking ass, she didn’t like the worry. And [UFC president] Dana [White] kind of said the same thing, so that’s why I went and retired.”
What drives Hughes to return is not for monetary gains, but to erase the negative stigma of ending his career in such an ungraceful manner.
“I just dislike getting, you know, Koscheck was my last loss, and BJ was my loss before that, and I fully believe that if those fights went all 15 minutes, I would have got my hand raised. I really do,” Hughes said. “But I got hit in the wrong spot and I didn’t make it out of the first round both times.”
“I still think I’m very competitive, I think I could be. I haven’t trained real hard in the past couple years, but that’s the problem that keeps me thinking I would have a chance of going in there.”
As for the organization he intends to fight for, Hughes still wants it to be the UFC. But at the same time, he is not closing his doors on other available options.
He also laid down his conditions for his would-be opponent.
“It would have to be a pretty major organization, so I wouldn’t say [I would fight for] everyone. I would really hate to fight out of the UFC, but I would.”
“I have no interest in fighting somebody like Tyron Woodley or [Jorge] Masvidal or some of these young kids. I don’t,” Hughes added. “I’d want to have somebody close to my age that would have the same speed, quickness.”