View Full Version : "Is Matt Hughes the Greatest of All Time?"

04-30-2010, 03:52 PM
This is an ooold article I just re-discovered & wanted to share:

It's a legitimate question.

Fans and pundits alike throw around the phrase 'greatest of all time' in the world of sports so often that it truly is trite, particularly in the fledgling world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Every time a guy wins a title belt, the topic seems to rear its redundant head in proverbial water cooler discussions around the Internet.

Royce Gracie. Randy Couture. Dan Severn. Mark Coleman. Frank Shamrock. Tito Ortiz. At one time or another, each of these champions caused fans to debate the 'greatest UFC fighter of all time' topic.

Today, Chuck Liddell is starting to pop up on the radar screen, and it seems as if everyone wants pound-for-pound superstar BJ Penn to win another UFC title and dominate a division (or two) so that he can be anointed as the UFC's greatest competitor.

Debating the relative merits of the aforementioned names makes for good entertainment, but none of those current or former champions, not a single one, can come close to the championship resume of reigning UFC 170-pound czar Matt Hughes.

Since first winning the belt from Carlos Newton via controversial knockout at UFC 34, Hughes has been nothing short of brilliant. During that five-year period, he has defeated each and every legitimate number one contender--some of them more than once.

The net result is that Hughes is an eye-opening 9-1 in UFC title bouts, defeating Newton (twice), Hayato Sakurai, Gil Castillo, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg (twice), Georges St. Pierre, and BJ Penn along the way (wins against Royce Gracie and Joe Riggs were in non-title affairs). The win over Penn at UFC 63, a dramatic, come-from-behind technical knockout, avenged his only championship loss.

But where do those 9 championship wins rank all time?

Only Couture rivals Hughes in terms of championship experience, but he hasn't enjoyed nearly as much success. Couture's 11 title fights (not counting the 2003 'interim' title bout with Liddell at UFC 43) include five losses. So that leaves him tied with Ortiz in a distant second place in terms of all-time UFC championship wins.

It is interesting to note that all of Ortiz's title wins came in consecutive fashion, matching Hughes in terms of consecutive successful defenses at five--the current UFC record. Liddell and Pat Miletich are next with three. Couture, Rich Franklin, Jens Pulver and Tim Sylvia can each claim a pair.
But Ortiz has yet to regain the title since losing to Couture at UFC 44, so his total successful defenses (not just consecutive defenses) sits at five. Hughes, by contrast, has seven total successful defenses in his two reigns, also a UFC record.

Nine wins in title fights; seven overall successful title defenses; and five consecutive successful defenses. Three UFC records.

There is little doubt that Hughes is the most successful champion in UFC history, but does that make him the greatest fighter to ever step inside the Octagon?

The truth is that it is difficult to come up with an objective measure for such a subjective question. But that begs the question of what better measure of greatness exists than championship success?

Whether we like it or not, the fact remains that individual sports are all about winning championships, not just raking up impressive statistics or achievements in non-championship contests.

Think otherwise?

Ask Sam Snead, the most prolific winner in the history of golf. Despite
winning a record 82 tournaments in his amazing career, few, if any, experts consider him the greatest golfer in history. Why? Because he cannot claim the same level of success in golf's four majors--the equivalent of a championship fight.

Jack Nicklaus, a 73-time winner on the PGA Tour, happens to hold the record for the most major victories with 18 (compared to Snead's 7) and is generally accepted as the greatest ever.

Tiger Woods, second in major championships with 11 and fifth in overall wins with 54, may very well shatter both records because he still has another decade of world class golf ahead of him, at least. And he is arguably the most talented golfer to ever swing a club. But if he falls short of Nicklaus' 18 majors, it will be hard to argue that he was better than Nicklaus.

Greatness in swimming, diving, and track and field are all measured by Olympic gold medals. Tennis is measured by winning major tournaments. NASCAR is all about winning the Nextel Cup. Boxing greatness is defined by success in world title fights (not merely alphabet title scraps, but that is another discussion altogether). And the list goes on and on.

It doesn't stop with individual sports, either. Using championship success as the standard for greatness also applies, in large part, to team sports.
When football historians debate the topic of the greatest quarterback in NFL history, names like Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana dominate discussions. Yet, Dan Marino and Warren Moon both have vastly more impressive statistics, particularly Moon, who also racked up amazing numbers in the Canadian Football League before coming to the NFL.
Why? Unitas and Montana performed when it was all on the line, winning multiple championships. Marino turned the ball over three times versus one touchdown in his lone Super Bowl appearance, and Moon wasn't able to get to the big game, failing to dominate in the playoffs like he did in the regular season.

For those fans who are a little too young to remember watching Montana, a similar situation exists today.

Peyton Manning may very well be the most talented quarterback in the NFL and may well shatter Marino's passing records if he plays as long as Marino did. But if he retired today, would he even be considered the greatest quarterback of the last decade? Of course not, because some guy named Tom Brady has three Super Bowl rings (and two Super Bowl MVP trophies) sitting on his bedside table, despite career statistics that pale in comparison to Manning.

Of course, there are more examples.

What about Wilt Chamberlain, statistically, the most dominant player in the history of the NBA? Yet, Chamberlain, who averaged 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game over his career, sits below Bill Russell, who averaged 15.1 points, 22.4 rebounds and 4.3 points per game over his career, on almost every 'greatest centers in NBA history' list.
Why? Chamberlain won only a single NBA title, while Russell led his Celtics to 11 rings in 13 seasons.

That brings us back to today and the question of who is the greatest fighter in UFC history. Is it Royce Gracie? How about Frank Shamrock? Maybe it is Randy Couture?

If success on a championship level is the barometer, then it is Hughes by a long shot."Now throw on the fact that he's got the record for most wins in the Octagon, I think the case is even more compelling.

04-30-2010, 06:22 PM
I think Matt is one of the greatest champions of all time...because it's hard to single out just one person with all the weight classes.

IMO, he is the greatest welterweight. Also, for sportsmanship, character and hawtness, he is the all-time champion.


04-30-2010, 06:25 PM
This is an ooold article I just re-discovered & wanted to share:

Now throw on the fact that he's got the record for most wins in the Octagon, I think the case is even more compelling.

man.. here I was thinking that is was common knowledge that Matt Hughes is EASILY one of the top three greatest... just looking at the fights...

Looking at the numbers behind that.. Oh Yes.. easily the greatest!

04-30-2010, 06:27 PM
Great article, though, Ben. After reading it again I have to say, yeah, Hughes by a longshot!

Miss Foxy
04-30-2010, 07:09 PM
Heck yes he is!! That's just the truth he is!!:cool:

04-30-2010, 09:16 PM
I haven't read the thread but yes he is the goat

04-30-2010, 10:51 PM
My heart answers this question very easily....YES. But thinking it through it is a very tough thing to declare someone the greatest. Is Matt one of the greatest? Imo, yes he is. I think there is a place reserved for him in the HOF.
Even though MMA is still very young, it has evolved from the time Matt was champion. Matt was easily the greatest in his prime, but of all time, its tough to say. Top 3 for sure.

04-30-2010, 11:49 PM
Heck yes he is!! That's just the truth he is!!:cool:

05-01-2010, 01:08 AM
Do you believe that God puts people on this earth so we can follow. Matt is a true leader and an example of not only a great fighter but a great person. "Lead by example" He has done that. I will follow him well past his retirement.

05-01-2010, 01:56 AM
no doubt about it ... if someone does, take a poll of the fighters ... they will also tell you he is .

05-01-2010, 05:05 AM
I haven't read the thread but yes he is the goat

For the record, he is, and for the other record, you have to be very careful how you use goat around here,(Mac gets a little crazy):punch::punch::punch:

05-01-2010, 06:11 AM
I know some people who jumped on the Serra bandwagon that Matt's "an arrogant dick", but of those people, none of them have ever denied that Matt's the most dominant fighter in UFC history, period. Many predict GSP will surpass him, but that could still be an opinion if he does break some of Matt's records. The truth for me holds that Matt finished fights rather than drawing them out for 25 minutes. This is meant as no disrespect to GSP, but MMA is all about finishing your opponent IMO.

05-01-2010, 06:25 AM
Yes, Matt Hughes....he gets the job done!

05-01-2010, 03:21 PM
this is common knolage... unless you spend you days on sherdog then you might think something rediculous like tank abbot is the GOAT or something.


05-01-2010, 05:20 PM
For the record, he is, and for the other record, you have to be very careful how you use goat around here,(Mac gets a little crazy):punch::punch::punch:

nothing subliminal intended:ninja:

05-02-2010, 06:06 PM
There is no measurement for "Greatest" thats the problem.

My personal opinion is that he is the most dominant and prolific Champion the UFC have ever had, and almost certainly ever will have.

The reason I believe is two fold. Firstly he actually is a Martial Artist, and thats where the majority of those considered Great have failed to be the Greatest. Martial Arts is not a way of fighting, it is a way of living. This next generation have forgotten that. They dedicate their life, not to a philosophy but to a physical skill which they cant hope to keep forever. Matt Hughes works on a farm...do you see the difference? I am not talking about work ethos here...I am talking almost about priorities. Some Great Fighters live to fight...and sooner or later, the fight will kill them, because they cant go on fighting forever...that window is a tiny sliver of there life about ten years in length on average...what happens when they cant fight anymore??

What will happen when Matt Hughes cant fight anymore? He will carry on being a farmer. The non fighting things that martial arts teach are WAY more important then the fighting...because they can be applied to everything for a whole life time.

So...after you consider his Fighting, you have to admit he is a Great. Then I ask you to consider, how he matches up to the ideology of a Martial Artist away from fighting...you'll find noone else in his league like him...except perhaps Fedor. :laugh:

Here is the second reason. Matt Hughes has, as Scriptures would say "Found Favour" with Our Lord. The stigma placed on Matt Hughes far outweighes any other Christian Fighter...you dont see this sort of hate leveled at Rich Franklin, Benson Henderson, Roger Huerta...or anyone else. Ask yourself why?

I will attempt to answer...it is my belief that Matt Hughes is seen by the Enemy as a big threat. Some threats are best ignored, because if you dont draw attention to them, they can pass by. Who really remembers Leonard Garcia vs Roger Huerta anymore...or at least the ending...who really takes Randy Couture seriously...when his life has far to many obvious skelletons in the public domain...But..Matt Hughes just wouldnt go away, he just wouldnt be quiet...and that means that the enemy have to actually try and silence him, and they do this by voicing opposition....and thats what you see on Sherdog...and all over many video predictions. Matt Hughes hasnt held the Belt in nearly FOUR YEARS...and they still hate on him as much now as then...Do they still even remember anyone else from that era :huh:

This is because in the same way that Matt Hughes wont change with or without the fighting, he doesnt change whether with belt or with out

But look how GOD has blessed him. This forum only founded its conception almost a year before THE END of Matts Second Title Reign...and its grown, and grown...

The reason Matt Hughes upsets everyone is because he doesnt need the belt to be a Champion, it annoys the Mixed Martial Arts fans, it annoys the Heathen. Whats worse for them is they know, he wont change when he retires either...he doesnt need them, he doesnt relay on them, he wont crumble without them...he plays on all their insecurities by simply Being...and this is because he has found favour with GOD...who describes himself, not a "doing" but as "Being" Its Humans who have to do...GOD simply is...he says "I AM" and those who place their contentment in that, are destined to become just like that.

Noone is perfect, but some are closer to it then others :laugh:

Shane Lee 2
05-02-2010, 07:03 PM
I think its like the beauty in the eye of the beholder thing............. I think it is how do you see Matt Hughes...... What has he done that puts him on top for you? BTW.... I cheated and didnt read the article soI'm just talking....:):)

And as far as Matts concerned I truly believe that he would rather be called the greatest family man, friend, and father than anything else.............. And that my friends is what put him at the top of my list!!