You won’t always be on top. Eventually, even the best of us have a bad day. I’ve been waiting to dive further into outcome of Hughes-Penn III until I saw what he would write to fans on his blog. The PR guy in me was as pleased as the sports fan in me was. He was gracious, respectful (to Penn) and made no excuses. If you don’t follow his blog, here is what was posted late last week.
From the post Third Fight with Penn:
“A lot of people have been asking about the fight and how I am doing. Of course, the fight didn’t go like I had planned it. I knew BJ was going to be in shape, but I didn’t know he was going to come in with a game plan and really look for my tendencies. I think BJ knew I was going to come in throwing my jab and I think he had a game plan for that. He hit me with a hard right hand that I never saw coming. It’s funny how styles make fights and I’m not at all like Frankie Edgar. So it just kind of stinks that BJ came off two losses and then ended up beating me in less than 30 seconds. I knew BJ was going to be tough that first round. I was trying to get him into the second and the third round where I could wear on him, slow him down and soften him up a little bit; but it just didn’t go that way.
I don’t know what I’ll do now. I’m definitely going to take the winter off and some of the spring. I had three fights this year, so I’ve just got some other things I want to do; but I will say that this was one big step closer to retirement for me. “
Now, although respectful, Hughes once again hints at his end in the fight game. Should Hughes retire, it is a HUGE loss to the UFC. In addition to being a great fighter, he is a name that draws in fans and will never (knock on wood) be a personality to be drawn in to any large, unnecessary controversies. On the flip side, for Hughes, is there anything left to pursue before retirement?
Let’s look at his fight history:
- 2× NJCAA All-American Team Wrestler
- Middleweight Advanced Champion at the 2002 Grapplers Quest West Championships
- 2× NCAA Division I All-American Team
- MMA record of 45-8; Hughes put together two separate six-fight winning streaks in the UFC,
- 2x UFC Welterweight Champion; defended the belt a record seven times
- Currently holds the record for most UFC fights with 24 and most wins with 18.
- Defeated all but one of the other UFC Welterweight Champions (Pat Miletich)
- 2x coach on the ultimate fighter; both times produced a TUF winner
- 5x Submission of the Night winner
- A long-time member of Miletich Fighting Systems, Hughes left the camp in late 2007 to start The H.I.T Squad
- Hughes has his own work out program “Cage Fitness.”
- Hughes was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on May 2010.
As my favorite MMA athlete and UFC star, I’d hate to see Hughes call it a day. Yet, I don’t want to see him go the Chuck Liddell route either. Given his rich history in the sport, there is no shame in him calling it a day. What do you think Hughes should do next?