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Matt Hughes is good for the sport

Matt Hughes is good for the sport. There. I said it. Readers of this site probably thought they’d never see the day where I would praise Matt Hughes for anything. Well, perhaps hell has frozen over.

It’s quotes like this one that have me turning the corner:

“My wife says I was a little bit depressed the day I found out about it,” Hughes recalled. “I won’t disagree. I was just really excited to fight Serra … then I really started to think about it, started to pray on what I should do, to fight, not fight, fight [Jon] Fitch or Diego Sanchez or rematch Georges. I had a big decision, what’s good for me, good for the UFC, and good for the people watching the sport. And St. Pierre was the fit.

When Matt Serra’s injury was announced, the ball was entirely in Matt Hughes’ court whether to fight or not. Most, including myself, didn’t see any reason for him to fight. I thought for sure that he would wait until Serra heals, continue to train, and redeem his title shot at a later date and time. Why would he risk everything?

Obviously I don’t think like Matt Hughes does. He’s not just thinking about himself. He’s thinking about the good of the fans and the good of the UFC. He may not come right out say it, but you can guarantee he’s thinking about what’s good for the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole. What the UFC and these two athletes have done is nothing short of remarkable.

While Serra vs. Hughes is a good fight that I’d still love to see, St. Pierre vs. Hughes III lends a credibility to the sport and to UFC 79 in particular that you won’t find in many combat sports. For two of the sport’s biggest stars to agree to fight for an interim title on short notice speaks highly of the sport’s athletes. It’s speaks volume for Hughes and St. Pierre in particular.

As I said, however, the ball was always in Hughes’ court. He could have told St. Pierre’s camp to screw off. He could have waited on Serra, who he presumably thinks is an “easier” opponent. He could have done any number of things.

In the end, though, Hughes is doing what he knows best: fighting.

17 COMMENTS
  • FightMetric says:

    I agree. Hughes could have easily taken the easy route, especially considering how happy he looked when Serra beat GSP in the first place.

    The man needs some good PR after his portrayal on this season of TUF and this should do it. Not saying he did it for the PR value, but it couldn’t hurt.

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  • RT says:

    Reality TV was the worst thing to happen to Hughes, this might the best.

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  • garth says:

    I disagree. I think Matt is thinking about his own PR, not the sport. Dropping that self-aggrandizing “what’s good for” comment, like the entire world rests on his shoulders, just makes me think he’s even more conceited than I’d imagined. while a five-week camp isn’t a long time, he was already training. GSP is the one stepping up.
    While I have tremendous respect for Hughes’ fighting ability, his public face has been one of smug, arrogant jackassery. It seems like Hughes does whatever is necessary for the greater glory of Hughes, above all.
    OBVIOUSLY I DON’T KNOW HIM PERSONALLY. I’m just another jerk venting his spleen on the internets.

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  • Bob Langevin says:

    I would like to also be a jerk venting my spleen on the internet. I’m with you garth, and I will have to steal your term Jackassery. Matt Hughes is not doing this for anyone other than Matt Hughes. I tiger can not change his stripes, and Hughes is a self obsessed and conceited megalomaniac. Now that was harsh of me I know, but that is was internet venting is for. I would be one of the first to vote Matt Hughes into the MMA hall of fame, I pay to see him on pay per view, I love his fights and respect his accomplishments. Outside the ring I enjoy disliking him. His decision to take the fight on “short notice” is not the case, he was planning on fighting. He gets a great chance to catch GSP. If he did win vs. Serra he would have to face GSP in his home town, and now he dodges that bullet as well. GSP has a shorter camp. These factors had much more to do with Matt Hughes wanting to fight GSP, than any factor that might be better for MMA. BIG MISTAKE MATT!. I look forward to seeing you lying in the cage semi conscious, as you look up at Big John and say “what happened.”

    Wow! I sort of went of on Matt, I just don’t want him getting any credit for being a stand up guy. I don’t’ think he is, and I think his plan will backfire. I do hope we get to see him fight Serra after GSP unifies, but I can only hope. We may never see Matt v Matt. The rivalry won’t mean to much a year from now.

    Cheers,
    Bob

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  • garth says:

    here’s hughes being stand-up and classy:

    “It’s bad in the fact that I’m fighting a lot tougher opponent than Matt Serra,” said Hughes of the change in opposition.

    “I just feel that Matt Serra is getting the easy way out. If he would have beat me, then he would have fought Georges again; so he would have fought both of us. Now, he’s getting the easy way out, fighting just one of us, possibly.”

    ahh, here’s hughes mis-stating facts again. didn’t 5 oz. of pain go off on just this kind of comment recently?

    “I’m a nine-time UFC champion…”

    Really? I thought he was a two-time champ.

    Here’s the rest of the article.
    http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=5144&zoneid=2

    my spleen is not nearly vented.

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  • steve24 says:

    Adam, great article. We all know Hughes doesn’t want this fight.

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  • screwface says:

    this is the fight hughes wanted most imo, he beat gsp b4, so naturally he thinks he had a bad night last time and wants to clear a bad mark on his record, of course he wants the belt, but a chance at gsp again is just want his bloated ego wants. gsp is a great fighter but very spotty, and hughes knows this, he gambling that hell get the bad gsp this night. i cant stand hughes, hes a great fighter, but a shi**y human. i hope his plans go the way of mice and men ufc 79. and im looking forward to gsp showing he didnt get lucky last time. adam im agree with you 99% of the time, but cant do it this time. serra is somewhat likable, but no way he holds the belt for long anyway. if any1 dodged a bullet it was serra. and quite frankly his injury was a smart move :p

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  • dice says:

    There is no “easy route” for hughes. GSP was going to be a bump on the road sooner or later. And just to make Matt happy this is going to be an interim title match so its not like he loses anything on that front. I think he is smart in taking the fight because it means GSP gets less time to train for the fight. I give GSP more credit than hughes, he is the one that has to step up his training on short notice.

    Yeah he could have waited for the “presumably easier opponent”. But like I said before, the very next match he would have GSP. There was no getting around facing GSP.

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  • THORAZINE says:

    I’m definitely not a Hughes nuthugger, he’s a dickhead tool, however I luv to watch him fight and respect him as a fighter with guts, he’s always been a fierce competitor.

    Hughes is smart in taking the fight because it means GSP gets less time to train but I don’t think Hughes would ever say no to fighting GSP. I also give GSP a HUGE amount of credit for stepping up his training on short notice. However GSP is always in shape and watches his weight and he’s not injured right now… a very healthy 27yr old… 4 weeks to train is good enough for this incredible/intelligent athlete.

    Hughes may be a lot of negative things… but he’s certainly not a coward, or fight doger… never has been.

    Lets just say what it is… 2 tough fighters going at it!

    Prediction: GSP by KO.

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  • […] Pierre did for Dana White, then you get a story on UFC.com saying you saved Christmas. Adam Morgan is giving Matt Hughes the same treatment. Matt Serra is left explaining what […]

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  • Schlegel says:

    I agree that Hughes did this as much for himself as for anyone else. We could very well never see Serra in a cage again, so Hughes would have been risking more waiting for Serra in my opinion. Hughes is no spring chicken and his career needs a win now, not in a year. Trying to come back from a back problem is unreal hard. Serra may never be back, and if he is I dont think he will be the same Serra…for whatever that is worth, LOL

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  • Da Twin says:

    I think that both fighters have big balls, Hughes for picking GSP that man that destroyed him. And GSP for taking the fight of that caliber in short notice. I think Matt is hoping that GSP is not ready to go 5 rounds. I think GSP is a great athlete and is ready but im pretty sure that it wont make it pass the 3rd round, GSP TKO!!!

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  • Dizzle says:

    I think that Hughes is going to have some surprises for GSP. I think he’s going to be more mentally prepared for this fight. I think he had already prepared himself mentally for the serra fight, and now with the fight not happening…that just gives Hughes even more reason to bring on the heat in his fight with GSP.’

    I want to see some good action. Win or Lose as long as the fight is good I don’t care who wins this battle.

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  • garth says:

    also, just for the record, before hughes came out saying he picked the fight, GSP had stated that he wanted hughes as soon as he heard serra was hurt. That was how it was reported as I saw it. of course, events behind the scenes could be different, timing-wise.

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  • Jay says:

    Nice point Adam. I have been critical of you in the past for being critical of Matt Hughes. Now, let me be the first (or 15th) to say that I appreciate your post. My appreciation is not just because I agree with what you say but because I think it takes a great deal of humility for any journalist to openly share a change in his personal beliefs like you have.

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  • garth says:

    funny how everyone ignored vaild points in objection to adam’s post.
    I guess it’s just an echo chamber around here nowadays?

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  • dug says:

    Matt Serra is the biggest joke. I hope that Hughes beats GSP, then breaks Serra’s jaw so we dont have to hear him say “bro” anymore! This is why you dont talk trash, because something like this could happen. Now he looks like the idiot he really is.

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