Matt Hughes Officially Retires; Accepts New Role with UFC Fighter Development

January 24, 2013
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Matt Hughes at UFC 123Everybody knew it was coming, but on Thursday UFC president Dana White made official the retirement of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes.

“I am here today to announce the retirement of Matt Hughes,” White proclaimed before kicking off the UFC on Fox 6 pre-fight press conference in Chicago.

But like Chuck Liddell before him, Hughes won’t be leaving the UFC.

Besides his retirement, White announced Hughes’ new role within the company, as UFC Vice President of Athletic Development and Government Relations.

UFC general counsel Lawrence Epstein also took to the dais to shed a little more light on Hughes’ new role. Like many other sports leagues do, the UFC is keeping former competitors like Hughes and Liddell around to help light the way for the younger generation of fighters, acting as mentors to help those fighters navigate the  landscape of the professional athlete.

“(Hughes) is going to be the mentor to our 400-plus athletes that are currently with us and those that will be with us in the future,” said Epstein.

The UFC then played a short video with the likes of Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn singing Hughes’ praises.

Hughes fought professionally for nearly 14 years, winning the UFC welterweight championship on two separate occasions, and defended the belt seven times.

But for a man with many accomplishments, Hughes had little to say when he took to the stage.

“It’s funny the road God puts you on, you just don’t know where you’re gonna end up,” the former champ commented. “What started out as a hobby broght me to the UFC and here in front of you now.

“I love this sport and the new position is the best way for me to stay in it moving forward. I look forward to using my experience in providing a perspective for both the UFC and the fighters.”

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  • Sir_Roy

    Good for him. He deserves the position and the accolades … though I hope he doesn’t try to force feed his religion and personal beliefs down everyone’s throats … that’s just bad form.

    • R

      He will. He is a very good fighter, don’t get me wrong, but he is not the sharpest tack. Dumb people know they are right, and can’t believe that anyone could think otherwise. They are so frustrated by conflicting ideas that they try to enforce their contradictions on the rest of us to make themselves feel normal.

      • kbroesq

        Yes, all of us religious people are dumb because religious is synonymous with dumb.

        When have you seen Hughes try to force his religion on anyone? When you’re religious (as opposed to a person who actually believes that this entire universe just spontaneously combusted into being by natural forces alone), it’s the most important thing in your life, so obviously, it’s part of his day-to-day, and comes through in speeches, etc. There’s a difference between forcing religion on someone and not hiding it every time you speak.

        Now for my comment that is actually relevant to the story:

        Hughes was an awesome competitor, and in my mind, just as important as Royce, because Hughes was one of the first guys who put it all together. Hughes was one of the first “Mixed Martial Artists.” He was the Jon Jones of his time.

  • RonnieV

    The second Best Welterweight of All-Time!!!

  • b-soc

    Lets hope he does more than Chuck appears to do in his executive role.

  • Tiddy28

    The official end of an illustrious career. Been enjoyable to watch Hughes fight over the last decade plus.

  • Timothy Malone

    He is a great fighter and if he rededicated himself he could still be a contender in my opinion. But obviously he doesn’t really feel that passion anymore and that’s the most important thing you need. Best of luck to him.

  • BS

    This is bull#hit. The guy is a rapist, ego maniac that’s full of himself. Dumb ass redneck should leave the sport all together and go back to his boyfriend.

    • Rence

      a rapist? really? kind of a strong accusation to just throw out there as an insult. You dont like him, we get that. But rapist? Really? C’mon…

    • pork

      next time you run into matt why don’t you tell him that

  • Darin

    I used to think Hughes was such a douche, but he’s grown on me over the years.

  • rick

    He was dominant for a long time, and definitely brought the UFC to new heights. Reitrement is a good choice, and I think he’ll be a great trainer for other fighters.