by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com


Former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes has left Miletich Fighting Systems, the team that helped develop him into a champion and the fighter he is today. The most dominant welterweight in UFC history plans on starting a gym in southern Illinois that would be closer to his home.

 “From what Matt told me, he was offered a good financial deal to do it,” revealed Pat Miletich. “Also, he’s away from his family a lot so he wanted to be closer to Hillsboro, Ill., which is close to St. Louis [where the new gym is expected to be located].

 “I don’t blame him. He’s been training up here 8-9 years. It’s not easy being away from your family all the time, so I don’t blame him. I wish him good luck and hope it goes well for him. We had a lot of good years. I’m sad to see him go.”

Alongside Matt Hughes, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler has left the Miletich camp to help the former champion in his new venture.

 “I think Rob was offered a financial deal to train there. I wouldn’t blame Rob for taking the money either; something he feels is wise for his family. Whatever people think is best for them; I’m going to support them. That’s just the way it is. Obviously I’m sad to see him go. Rob’s been with me since he was, I think, sixteen. That’s the natural progression. Sometimes certain people get to the point where they feel it’s time to leave the nest; do things on their own. I have no problem with that. That’s the way it goes. I don’t run a cult, you know what I mean?”

Lawler is currently preparing at MFS for his fight against Chute Boxe’s Murilo “Ninja” Rua at the next EliteXC on Sept. 15 in Hawaii. “Rob’s here training for ‘Ninja’ right now. Rob asked if he could train here and I said of course,” stated Miletich.

Matt Hughes looks to reclaim his welterweight belt at UFC 79 when he takes on Matt “The Terror” Serra. Hughes lost the title when he was stopped by George St-Pierre with strikes back in November of last year. Since then, the Illinois resident has rebounded with a win over Chris Lytle at UFC 68.

In the first defense of his new belt, Georges St-Pierre was defeated by Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Matt Serra in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Shortly after, UFC President Dana White announced that Serra and Hughes would be the new coaches on the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter and would face each other after the end of the televised season.



Tim Sylvia is back in the gym in preparation for his upcoming fight against Brandon Vera at UFC 77.

 “Tim’s back in training and he’s starting to look pretty good already. He’s getting back into the groove,” said Miletich. “He’s doing it smart; he’s sliding back into it. Gradually build himself up and not overdoing it too early.”

After losing his heavyweight title to Randy Couture at UFC 68, Sylvia revealed that he suffered from a back injury a few months prior to his fight. Tim had surgery back in May to alleviate his discomfort.

 “I had three bulged discs. It was pinching my sciatic nerve. What they did is they made a 4-inch incision on my spine, went in and moved the nerves aside and cut the bulges off that were hindering the sciatic nerve,” explained the former champion. “I feel great. I have lots of feeling in my left foot. The tingling down my leg, the huge pain in my buttocks and hamstring are no longer there.”

 “His back is doing great,” added Miletich. “It’s nice to see him not in pain. It’s really nice to see him being able to move. When Tim’s healthy … can twist his body, move his feet, and do the things he wants to do, he hits very hard.

 “Tim understands how tough Vera is and how hard he’s going to have to work to beat him. Every fight is a tough fight. Vera is a skilled kid. He’s got a unique style and he’s pretty versatile.”



– Jeremy Stephens is back at MFS training for an upcoming bout against Diego Saraiva on the undercard of UFC 76. Stephens’ original opponent Nate Mohr broke his hand in his last fight against Luke Caudillo. A recent x-ray revealed that the Team Curran fighter’s right hand was still broken.

– Drew McFedries is recovering from his recent staph infection. He’s feeling better and looking forward to getting healthy and getting back into the Octagon.

– Corey Hill has been working hard to improve his game. “We’ve been working a lot on his technical game. He’s such a great athlete with a great attitude. All he needs is the knowledge,” commented Miletich. As of this moment, Hill doesn’t have any fights scheduled.

– 135-pound MFS prospect and former 2-time National Wrestling Champion Eric Juergens will take on Justin Shipman at Extreme Challenge 83.


Al Yu can be contacted at AlYu@MMAWeekly.com.