(Courtesy of UFC)
The UFC celebrated its 25-year anniversary with a series of poignant short documentaries, collectively titled 25 Years in Short. Perhaps none of the movies were more cutting and moving than the story of UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes and his struggle to survive a horrific accident.
Hughes was involved in a tragic accident in June of 2017 when the pickup he was driving was hit by a train. Though he teetered on the edge of death, Hughes somehow won the biggest fight of his life, and has slowly been working on his recovery.
“Country Boy Can Survive: The Story of Matt Hughes’ Fight for Survival” is the raw, emotional recounting of the struggle of Hughes and his family from the time that Hughes was still fighting until the accident and then his recovery.
Hughes has appeared at a few UFC events and functions since the accident and the filming of the documentary. He still struggles to move and talk as he did prior to the accident, but it has still been a miraculous comeback from the brink of death, merely to survive. It very much mirrored many of the more memorable fights in his career, particularly his momentum shifts against Carlos Newton and Frank Trigg.
The documentary is a good reflection of Hughes’ deep-seeded ability to never quit. He constantly had to fight throughout his career, as he did after the accident. It took his ability to never quit to help him survive the true life-and-death struggle of the accident.
Unfortunately, Hughes’ story doesn’t yet have the fairy-tail ending that was hoped for in the documentary. Less than two years after the accident, Hughes’ relationship with his wife devolved and he eventually filed for divorce in February of 2019.
Hughes finished his career with an overall MMA record of 45-9 and still has many UFC records to his credit. He has twice been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, once into the Pioneer Wing and a second time for his epic second fight with Frank Trigg at UFC 52.