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    He is often described as the greatest champion the UFC has ever had, and now Matt Hughes can add Hall of Famer to his list of career accolades, as the multiple time welterweight champion was inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame.

    The announcement was made by the UFC on Friday night that Hughes is the latest fighter to be inducted.

    Stepping into the Octagon for the first time in 1999, Hughes has been a mainstay of the organization ever since, fighting an incredible 22 times for the UFC.

    His biggest achievement was of course winning the UFC welterweight title on multiple occasions, and being rated as one of the top 170-pound fighters to ever strap on the gloves and fight in the cage.

    Defeating Carlos Newton to win the welterweight title at UFC 34 in 2001, Hughes went on to defend the belt five times before losing to B.J. Penn in 2004.

    The legendary Illinois fighter reclaimed the gold, and has since gone on to face some of the best competition the welterweight division has to offer. Hughes even got a chance to face the original face of the UFC when he faced Royce Gracie at UFC 60 in 2006.

    Hughes outpowered, outmaneuvered and out fought Gracie before getting the TKO win late in the first round of their match-up.

    The now former welterweight champion continues to push himself and has been a staple of the top ten in the division for years, and he's not slowing down just yet. After defeating Renzo Gracie in April, Hughes will now face one of his top students in August as he face Ricardo Almeida at UFC 117.

    The former welterweight champion is the latest fighter to be inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame, and joins friends from the past like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture who also found a home in the Hall of Fame.

    Congratulations to Matt Hughes, 2010 UFC Hall of Fame inductee.
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      Matt Hughes has never been a fighter searching for a rivalry to boost his career.

      Widely considered one of the greatest champions in UFC history, Hughes has fought the best of the best over time, and simply says 'yes' to a fight when Joe Silva or UFC president Dana White give him a call.

      If you started to look deeper, however, it would appear on paper that Hughes has taken over Kazushi Sakuraba's role as the Gracie family's greatest antagonist. The Illinois based fighter has picked up two wins over the Gracie family directly with victories over Renzo and Royce, and also has a win over Renzo Gracie black belt Matt Serra.

      Hughes will go for the trifecta of the Renzo Gracie system when he faces another of Renzos black belts in Ricardo Almeida at UFC 117, but he's not looking at this fight as another victory over the legendary MMA family. Although he does know that Almeida has to see this fight as a proving point for past events.

      "I think Ricardo will be hungry for this fight. Ive beaten two Gracies and a teammate and, back about 10 years ago, I beat Ricardo himself in a grappling match in Abu Dhabi. So on one hand hes got a lot of motivation and on the other he sees what I just listed and knows Im a threat," Hughes wrote about the fight on his website.

      The 37-year-old former welterweight champion has won his last two fights, with his only recent losses coming to current 170-pound king Georges St-Pierre and top-five-ranked fighter Thiago Alves. Outside of those fights, Hughes has still been a viable contender in the division, although so many try to write him off.

      As one of the oldest competitors currently in the UFC, Hughes doesn't really think about age as a sign that he's getting too old to do this, or that he even needs to worry about that. It's about the fight and as long as he's competing, age is simply a number.

      "I guess Im just glad Ive been able to have as long of a career as I have," Hughes said about fighting well into his 30's. "So many other people out there who have fought in the UFC wouldnt even think of fighting as long as I have. So I guess I look at it as a privilege."

      Hughes has been getting ready for his fight with Almeida with his regular cast of characters at his home gym at the HIT Squad, and has also traveled out to Utah to work with longtime friend Jeremy Horn and his team. The preparation seems to be in place, and Hughes is poised once again for a chance to get a big win, on the biggest stage.

      "Had some tough workouts at my gym and also went out to Salt Lake City and got to train with Jeremy, his guys, and Matt Pena," Hughes stated. "My three corners for this fight will be Robbie Lawler, Matt Pena and Jeremy Horn. I really feel that my cornermen are the best in the business."

      As one of the true pioneers of the UFC, Hughes will keep fighting the best he can get his hands on, and continue to prove he's more than just a former champion holding on to past glory. He's a contender that still threatens any fighter that steps in the Octagon with him.
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        It seems like a natural rivalry that's built up lately between Matt Hughes and the Gracie Family. The former UFC welterweight champion has fought and defeated two Gracies, as well as Renzo Gracie black belt Matt Serra, but Hughes says there's no rivalry, it's just business.

        Some had compared Hughes to famed Pride fighter Kazushi Sakuraba, who garnered the nickname "The Gracie Hunter" for his victories over the famed family, but the Illinois native doesn't take any of that to heart.

        He's simply fought who the UFC put in front of him, and has nothing but respect for the Gracie family of fighters.

        "I don't think there's anything personal between Ricardo and I. My last opponent was his coach, and I don't blame him. I did the same thing. After Pat Miletich lost a couple times, I wanted to face those same guys. So I understand where Ricardo's at, what he's doing, and it's nothing personal to me," Hughes said on Thursday.

        "I don't want to be called the Gracie Killer. I like Renzo and Royce, they were just the guys the UFC put in front of me."

        Hughes did take on former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton after the Canadian submitted Pat Miletich at UFC 31 in 2001. It was Hughes' first reign as champion after he defeated Newton, and then fought and defeated him again within a one-year time span.

        Almeida has stated previously that the fight with Hughes is more about redemption that revenge. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has studied under Renzo Gracie for years, and considers the legendary fighter a mentor and close friend.

        "No, nothing really personal from my side. I was there in the corner when Matt knocked out Renzo and I asked for the fight then. I think a big part of a team is having your training partner's back, and it was definitely an emotional night for me, but nothing personal," said Almeida.

        "Just a chance to fight a UFC hall of famer, someone who's done a lot for the sport, and hopefully a step up the ladder."

        The fight between Almeida and Hughes could move one of them on in the welterweight division title picture, but again both played that down and stated that they'll worry about those sorts of things after Saturday night.

        The two welterweights will square off as part of the main televised card for UFC 117 on pay-per-view Saturday night from Oakland, Calif.

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        • Matt Hughes=

          WORLD PHARM =



            UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes continued his reign over the Gracie family choking Renzo Gracie trained Ricardo Almeida out in the first round of their UFC 117 welterweight match up.

            On a night that Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves compete for top contender status in the 170-pound division, the former two-time titleholder made a statement that hes not out of the title mix just yet.

            The first round was all standing with Almeida seemingly getting the better of it until Hughes landed a left hook to the chin of Almeida, knocking the Brazilian to the canvas.

            From there, Hughes swooped in sensing the opportunity to finish the fight. Hughes locked on a modified front triangle choke and wrenched on the pressure forcing Almeida to go unconscious at the 3:15 mark in the first round.

            Discussing the submission finish, Hughes said its an old wrestling move he learned a long time ago.

            Im happy to beat a good Brazilian with a wrestling move, said Hughes.

            The 36-year old Hughes will be taking the remainder of 2010 off, but expects to be back early in 2011.

            Im going to take the fall off. Im going to do some hunting and Ill talk to the UFC early next year.

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            • Hughes still has a little gas left in the tank.

              Hughes=my favorite welterweight of all time


              • HUGHES OPTS FOR HUNTING IN 2010, RETURNS 2011

                If anyone wondered where Matt Hughes belonged in the UFC's welterweight division, no one can tell the multi-time champion and now UFC hall of famer that it's not right near the top among the best in the division.

                Hughes once again showed that he can go with the best as he submitted Brazilian Jiu-Jitzu black belt Ricardo Almeida in the first round of their match-up at UFC 117 on Saturday.

                Over the last few years, Hughes has mentioned the possibility of retirement, and following a knockout loss to Thiago Alves, even more people told the Illinois fighter maybe it was time to call it a day.

                Hughes wasn't listening, and it's a good thing. The one-time Pat Miletich trained fighter has now won three fights in a row including a victory over former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, and a win over his coach and mentor Renzo Gracie.

                One person who never doubted what Hughes was still capable of was UFC president Dana White, who sat back in awe once again as the farm boy from Illinois put on a great performance to get his 18th win inside the Octagon.

                "I never thought that," White said about Hughes calling it a career anytime soon. "Hughes' last fight against Renzo Gracie, Hughes is one of these guys, I'll just put it this way Hughes is one of these guys, and has always been one of these guys that no matter what happens to him or what's going on in his life, he never says no to a fight. He's never turned down a fight, he always takes fights, and I'll just leave it at that."

                If someone questions Hughes' relevancy in the division look no further that the only three losses he's suffered over the last six years. He's lost to current UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, former champion B.J. Penn, and top five ranked fighter Thiago Alves. Outside of those fights, Hughes has won every match-up he's been involved in.

                Following the fight with Almeida, Hughes did say he's due some time off, and plans on spending it with his family and one of his other favorite past times, hunting.

                "I'll be real honest, I'm going to take this fall off, I'm going to do some hunting, and then early next year I'll talk with the UFC, and we'll figure out what we're going to do," Hughes said after the win.

                The welterweight division is coming up on some major fights to close out 2010 including the debut of Jake Shields, as well as the title fight between St. Pierre and top contender Josh Koscheck. Whenever Hughes returns in 2011, he'll fit in just fine and there will always be a tough fight for him when he's ready to fight again.
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