by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Having lost for the second time to Georges St-Pierre, the man that is largely considered the greatest welterweight champion in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Matt Hughes is left to ponder his future.
It’s a difficult position to be in. Most pundits believe that he is still a step above nearly everyone in the welterweight division, but in St-Pierre, Hughes has seemingly run into a puzzle that he can’t solve.
“I’m not gonna come out here and be somebody’s highlight reel. It’s just not me,” he said after Saturday night’s bout.
“I just have to go back to the drawing board and see what’s going on, see what I want to do. I’ve got to see what my family wants to do and I’ve got to pray on it. Dana White and the UFC have treated me like family, so I’ve got to see what they want me to do and I’ve got to see where my heart is at.”
Asked his thoughts on Hughes’ future, UFC president Dana White was clear that he didn’t want the former champion going anywhere.
“Matt’s future is, he’s going to be with the UFC forever if that’s what he wants to do. I’ve always named off a handful of guys that have been with me for seven, eight years and who’ve helped us build this business. Matt Hughes will be with the UFC as long as he wants to,” explained White. “As far as his fighting career, that’s up to him. We’ll sit down, we’ll talk, and we’ll see.”
Despite all the success that he has incurred since defeating Carlos Newton at UFC 38 in November of 2001, surprisingly, Hughes says that he never really considered fighting his career.
“I’ve looked at this sport as a sport and as a hobby. I’ve never really looked at it as a career to be honest,” he stated. “To be honest, this is just so fun. I walk into a gym twice a day… how can it be a career? Careers are supposed to be something that you don’t want to wake up to every day.”
With all of the friction between Hughes and current welterweight champion Matt Serra, there are obvious questions about whether he could retire before that bout is able to take place, but he didn’t seem overly concerned.
“Do I want to fight Matt Serra? Yah, I do,” he said matter-of-factly. “But am I going to die if I don’t get to fight him? No, not at all. There’re bigger things out there than fighting Matt Serra.”
Although Serra doesn’t seem occupy the fore of his mind, Hughes was adamant about one thing: where his loyalties lie.
“One thing we can get straight. I am family with the UFC. I will never jump ship. I will never go to another organization,” he declared. “This is just a word for you guys out there, don’t even come to me with offers because I am not accepting them. I won’t fight anybody, anywhere else, unless the UFC wants me to.” White couldn’t have been more pleased saying, “I love when he says that.”
So while it remains unclear what direction Hughes’ fighting career takes, whether he decides to call it a day or return for another run at the belt, it’s clear that he is a company man that will be UFC forever.