But that time for Matt Hughes is still up in the air, and a meeting with Zuffa executives will further give light to what Hughes’ future holds. At 37-years-old, it’s safe to say he’s past the better years of his career, but it doesn’t appear that Hughes is ready to give up on the fight game yet.
“I’m not retiring,” Hughes said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
The former UFC welterweight champion went on to explain that he’d like to let the UFC make the decision to put him “on the shelf,” as opposed to deciding to hang up the gloves by his own call.
If things turned out differently on Saturday night in Denver, however, the UFC would be singing a different tune. A Hughes win would have prevented any talk of retirement, according to UFC president Dana White.
In fact, he’d already be brainstorming about who they’d pit the long-time UFC veteran against next.
“If Matt Hughes were to beat Josh Koscheck tonight, we’d be talking about who he’s fighting next,” White said during the post-fight press conference. “I’m almost 100-percent positive he’s going to retire. I don’t think he’s going to do anything else.”
The UFC and Hughes are eventually going to have a sit down about what’s next. Clearly, Hughes, like many athletes who participate in competition for years, isn’t quite ready to step down from the adrenaline rush that comes from showcasing his athletic arsenal. It appears, judging by the tone of the UFC president, that the organization is ready to hand Hughes his gold watch.
They already gave Hughes a gold belt once upon a time; maybe a watch would be a nice accessory at this point in his life.
For Hughes’ sake, the hope is that he doesn’t pull a Brett Farve or Michael Jordan and say he’s walking away, then turn around and say he’s back – nobody wants to see that.
Hughes has done well for himself after more than 50 fights, and there’s no reason to try to prove anything else. Walking away would be perfectly acceptable at this point.
Enjoy the sunset, Mr. Hughes. You deserve it.