08-12-2010, 04:29 PM
1st Four to Final Four
Join Date: Jan 2009
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From MMAJunkie (http://mmajunkie.com/news/20206/ufc-...-at-a-time.mma
OAKLAND, Calif – Fresh off a triumphant submission victory over Ricardo Almeida at UFC 117, Matt Hughes says fighting will take a back seat to hunting this fall.
"Early next year, I'll talk with the UFC, and we'll figure out what we're going to do," Hughes told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
It was the former welterweight champion and recent UFC Hall of Fame inductee's third consecutive octagon victory after a disappointing run in which he lost his belt and dropped three out of four fights.
UFC 117 took place Saturday and drew a reported 12,971 fans to Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
While the term "hall of famer" conjures up images of competitors in the twilight of ability, the 36-year-old Hughes (45-7 MMA, 18-5 UFC) fought Almeida (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) like a young guy.
Almeida, 33, kept Hughes at bay with punches and even managed to win a brief struggle in the clinch when the two locked up early in the contest. The former champion looked like he might have a slow night, but a left hook changed that.
Hughes landed the blow following a short exchange, and Almeida suddenly was on the mat. A little surprised, Hughes grabbed Almeida's neck and arm and cinched up a head-and-arm choke he had once used in amateur wrestling. Almeida went unconscious as he tried to right himself.
Almeida, a decorated submission grappler, dropped to 4-2 in his most recent UFC stint and is now 1-1 as a welterweight.
"He just got clipped, and I caught him in a submission that he's maybe never seen before," Hughes said.
The old-school choke won the former champion the "Submission of the Night" bonus, which added $60,000 to his pocket. It was his third consecutive and fourth overall win against fighters trained in the Gracie tradition. Hughes TKOd Renzo Gracie at UFC 112 and beat Matt Serra on points at UFC 98. He also stopped early UFC champion Royce Gracie with strikes at UFC 60.
"It was one of those things where I could get people to go unconscious back then, so it's just something I've always been good at," Hughes said of the submission hold. "The technique just works with me."
There was at least one former wrestler in the audience who was tickled by he saw.
"Actually, Chuck Liddell came up to me afterward and said, 'I actually used to see that in wrestling. It was completely illegal. You couldn't do it because you weren't allowed to choke people out,'" White said. "He said, 'Only a moose like Hughes could pull that submission off.'"
Hughes' boss couldn't have been happier, either. UFC president Dana White had fielded countless questions about the fighter's viability after he lost his belt to current champion Georges St-Pierre and failed to get it back in a rematch. The questions continued to mount after he suffered a TKO loss to division standout Thiago Alves in his next fight.
"I never thought [he was in the twilight of his career]," White said. "Hughes is one of these guys – and always has been one of these guys – (with whom) no matter what happens to him or what goes on in his life, he never says no to a fight."
But with hunting season around the corner, Hughes will do just that come fall, and the boss seems OK with it.
"I knew he'd be better and stronger for this fight," White said. "Hughes said he's taking it one fight at a time and see how he feels."
Regardless, those pesky retirement questions can wait a while.
"He's always a threat," White said.