Everybody 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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