The UFC honored Hall of Famer and former welterweight champion Matt Hughes on Sunday night in St. Louis with an emotional tribute, as he continues to battle through the biggest fight of his life.
Hughes was hospitalized for several weeks last summer after his truck collided with an oncoming train in Illinois on June 16, 2017, and he was airlifted for treatment because of severe head injuries. According to police, Hughes drove his truck across railroad tracks directly in the path of an oncoming train, which struck the passenger side of his vehicle.
Hughes was stabilized by medical personnel, but was in a coma for quite some time as a result of the car accident.
The severity of the incident left many doubtful that he would recover, but Hughes’ family and friends rallied around him, holding prayer vigils and steadfastly believing that the mental fortitude that drove him to becoming one of the most storied champions in UFC history and his faith would carry him through the battle.
His friends and family were correct.
Though Hughes is obviously still struggling with some of his motor skills, his recovery has been northing short of miraculous.
The UFC’s tribute, entitled “Welcome Home Matt Hughes,” included a short video that recounted the tragic accident, Hughes’ road to recovery, and his historic career. The likes of Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn were included in the video, giving credit to Hughes for paving their way to the Octagon.
Following the video, Hughes walked out of the tunnel with his fight music, “Country Boys Can Survive,” blaring as he made his way to through a standing ovation, shaking hands with fans before being greeted Octagonside by UFC president Dana White.
It was a moving tribute to one of the most dominant champions the UFC has known, and one who is now winning the most important fight of his life.
(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)