New Hughes article!!!!

Hughes Feeling Relieved About Fight
by Andre Courtemanche

"I'm getting paid pretty good money and they're not going to let me have a tune-up fight for what they're paying me." Matt Hughes

Former UFC Welterweight champion Matt Hughes says he feels so much less stress now that his only duty is to get in a cage with an expert fighter trying to bash his brains out. "I can be the old Matt again. There's not near as much pressure now," said a relieved Hughes about fighting without the added challenge of trying to keep his title. "I get to go out and try to win this time. When you're the champ, you go out to not lose and try to keep the championship."

At UFC 48: "Payback," on Saturday, June 19, Hughes will be looking to rebound from his surprise UFC 46 title-losing submission defeat to BJ Penn by returning to face undefeated newcomer Charuto Verissimo.

"I know he's got somewhat quick hands, but I don't think he has the best technique," said Hughes of the Brazilian/Hawaiian who made his presence felt in his UFC debut last January with a dominating victory over Carlos Newton. "He obviously has great ground skills, but he doesn't have many fights and hasn't been really roughed up. That is the key: roughing him up. Carlos tried to just straight grapple with him; you can't do that against this guy."

Hughes has had time to go over what happened against Penn and doesn't seem ill at ease with having suffered just his fourth loss in thirty five fights. "As soon as my mom saw me that night, she knew something was wrong. I didn't feel quite the same as I usually do. I wouldn't say I wasn't feeling right, I was up to fighting. It's hard to explain. I'm not taking anything away from BJ. I just didn't win that night. He was the better man on that given night and that's it. It doesn't mean he's better than me. He was better that day, and that's it."

Even though he is regarded as the strongest welterweight fighter in the world, after five successful defenses over three years, the weight of the pressure to keep his title apparently got too heavy. By all accounts, Hughes had an uncharacteristically sloppy performance against Penn, culminating in him inexplicably reaching for the ankle while Penn had control of his back. "What happened there was when I was on my back, he swung my feet in into my head and I was dazed, so I went back to the old wrestling days. I went back to what was natural. In wrestling, going for the leg is natural and that's what I did and BJ just sunk the choke in when he saw the opportunity."

So does Hughes thirst for revenge at night? Is it the driving force behind his return? "Nope. I don't care," he said. "I've never asked for any rematches from people who beat me. I've never asked to fight anybody. That's the way I've always been. I couldn't really care less. I fight whoever is on the opposite side of the cage.

I'm sure he wouldn't mind the belt back eventually, but I understand the pressure being lifted after so many years

that is a lot to bear for so long

I like matt's humbleness and wow not wanting to avenge losses...I would want to fight hallman, pele and penn if I were him

but props to him for not having a big ego

Meho, how do you know he's not training for this fight?

Do you know him or the Militech guys?

"Hughes is finished"

Pretty sweeping statemtent there champ. Where's your info for this?

I have to admit that Matt sounds less than confident above. He was most awesome when he was all confidence and attitude... He only got beat on the night just like he said, thus he doesn't need to change anything or have a different mind-set.

Personally I like god-given talent. Even if I don't have it, I love watching it in another fighter.

Good luck Matt, just bash this guy.

Don't forget that people wrote Matt off years ago when he lost to Hallman and then Pele. What did he do he came back after a while and started beating asses again. I don't know how this fight is going to go but I am totally rooting for Hughes.

I have trained with some MFS guys, and other Team Extreme guys who know MAtt well. Paraphrasing a couple of points these guys make about Matt Hughes Ill say this.

Matt is one of the most naturally gifted athletes in MMA and no one, no matter their size, has ever been able to out muscle him in the gym or cage. This includes a 6'10" 300 pounds Tim Sylvia while training.

MAtt has never really trained hard at all, except for his fight with Penn. He apparently trained pretty damned hard for that fight. He is not training for this one that hard.

Matt can be completely absent from the gym for 2 months, and come back in and within 2 days have better cardio than anyone in the gym. And be completely schooling top level pros in there too.

Matt could get the news that he can no longer fight tomorrow, and he would not give much thought to it ever again. HE would be perfectly happy just going back to his farm and never training or fighting or watching another fight again.

Again, everything I just said was told directly to me, or to a group of people I was in, in one form or another, by one of MFS guys, or Team Extreme guys, or someone who otherwise is directly associated with Matt.

Where does the pressure of being Champ comes from?

MAybe from training partners at MFS? But then again by many accounts he doesnt train much.

Sure not from media, it's not that big a sport yet.

I mean being the top dog is what is all about for any competitor right? And even if it's not, that you're fighting for the belt, for chump change or for any reason whatsoever, your opponent wants to win and to do that he pretty much has to put a hurting on your ass. So that should be pressure enough!

I too am disappointed in his seemingly lack of passion. I mean he truly is one of the greats.

regardless of some of the newly found criticisms of Hughes and his performance, training, etc... i still have a great deal of respect for him as a fighter, representative of the sport, etc...

he seems to be a genuinely good guy and he's obviously an incredible fighter...

and that's coming from a student and friend of Charuto...

i STILL think this will be the fight of the night and i can't wait to see it... and as much as i like Hughes, i'll obviously be cheering for CHARUTO this time around... :)

I am MOST sad at listening to some of the above posts... I believe you KBeezy, but Matt is just too good to not support.... I'll fight this "career over thing" to the very end.

oh I never said his career was over. He is definitely one of my favorite fighters and still is IMO top 3 WW in world and top 5 P4P. HE has always had this attitude, it is fun for him, but maybe not so damned important as one would think with his success.

I think he comes out and wrecks Charuto honestly.

"Matt is one of the most naturally gifted athletes in MMA and no one, no matter their size, has ever been able to out muscle him in the gym or cage. This includes a 6'10" 300 pounds Tim Sylvia while training."

I agree with the first part, but wasn't he outmuscled by Tito in ADCC? That Sylvia at 300lbs couldnt overpower is astounding.

I'm betting big money that Hughes is not sitting around before the fight, the man is training like a madman. I think all that crap he talks about not training for fights is a physchological trip up for the oppononet. The dude is always shredded and cardio doesn't ever seem to be his problem. I really don't for a second buy his "no training" act. Please, and especially not against the guy who trains his previous oppononet.

We will see the best Matt has to offer on saturday night. At least that's what he claims, now that he doesn't have any belt pressure. If Matt gets his ass beat quickly in this fight though, maybe he should start thinking about doing something else. If your head/heart aren't in whatever you're doing, not just fighting, it's time to give up and move on.

Matt is Matt.....

Meho you seem to know quite a bit about Matt Hughes, and you are pretty well spoken for a saathoff.

nhb26- what did you mean when you called meho a "saathoff"?


It's to bad we won't see Matt and BJ throwdown again. I would like to see Matt make up for that one.

Just cause he doesn't "train" doesn't mean he's doing nothing all day. He works on his fram which is hard work, and eats well. Add that to great genetics and you get a very lean guy. Look at his twin brother, he is the exact same way and he doesn't train at all anymore. He is just a genetic freak that is able to train his cardio by doing farm chores. Great athlete but his heart doesn't sound into the whole fight deal

surftolive is exactly correct.

Guys in the Miletich camp tell me the same thing. It's well known among MMA people. Hughes not training with Miletich is not the same as our assumptions of it. We aren't farming and doing that stuff when we're not training. He's still doing physical labor and busting his ass, but he's not training, per se.

Hughes has done wrestling for so long that he could go into a coma, and the first thing he would remember is how to shoot a good single leg. When you've done wrestling for that long, and keep doing physical labor, you've got a baseline to compete in MMA if you were a great college wrestler, which Matt was.

Besides, he doesn't "train" for the two month typical camp because it bores him, he gets too many nagging injuries, and it gets him off his game plan. For Sherk he trained about 4-6 days Monte told me. He does this because it basically gets him ready and knows he better go out, and wrestle the other guy's ass off or he's going to get his ass kicked.

Against BJ he got away from wrestling. I think vs. Charuto we'll see his old self.

BTW Matt trained about 4 days for Charuto, because he wants to get back to what worked.

whaaaaat? he looses a fight to none other than BJ Penn and he's finished????? the man was champ since forever and he wasted so many people it was becomming boring to watch him trash guys. to go from that to being finished it absolutely outragous, people lose in this sport just like champion teams lose games, that doen't mean they're no good, it just means they lost a game...