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Old 09-20-2010, 02:39 PM
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Default UFC 123 Articles featuring Matt

There's gonna be a ton of them coming out in the next 2 months (exactly!!! ), so I figured to just make a single thread for all of them so it'd be easy to keep track.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:40 PM
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I think this one has a very interesting view point from an admitted Penn fan:

Quote:
Matt Hughes No Longer Fighting for a Legacy...Which is Why I Think He'll Beat BJ Penn

Heading into his upcoming UFC 123 bout with BJ Penn, Matt Hughes finds himself in a very interesting position: a big win over Penn would likely grant him a title shot, or at the very least a contender eliminator fight. And judging on how Penn has performed recently, it’s very possible that Hughes could come out the winner in the trilogy fight. The former long-reigning UFC Welterweight Champion and UFC Hall of Fame member spoke to the Montreal Gazette recently and clued us in on where he’s at mentally.

Here’s what Hughes had to say: “These last couple fights, I’ve really, really had a good time. The -out, in the locker-room. It’s all just been extremely fun. I think I’ve found a way, and I can’t explain it, where I’m just having a good time out there. I’m just having fun with it. I’m still fighting because I still enjoy getting in there.”

As I’ve said in the past, I think this is the perfect mentality for Matt Hughes to have as he enters the latest (I won’t say “final” just yet) phase of his career. It’s the same mentality that has allowed Randy Couture to compete at such a high level for so long. With his legacy as one of the best UFC fighters of all time now more or less set in stone, Matt Hughes can do things and try things just to say he did them and tried them. It may not work out every single time, but when it does, we get amazing/crazy moments like when he choked out submission specialist Ricardo Almeida.

And honestly, I think Hughes has a great shot at beating BJ Penn, and I say this as a massive BJ Penn fan. Both men are at radically different points in their careers from when they met both times previously. Hughes won’t have to play it tentatively, he can go in charging, guns-blazing non-stop from the start of Round 1. Meanwhile, Penn is in a do-or-die scenario fighting for his legitimacy as a top-ranked Mixed Martial Artist. Putting it plainly, Penn needs this win far more than Hughes does. That’s a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of “The Prodigy”, and if his recent fights have proven anything, it’s that BJ Penn doesn’t always thrive under pressure.

It won’t be easy though, I’d like to make that clear. As I said, I’m a huge “Baby Jay” fan and still have a lot of hope for him. Penn has always hit roadblocks in his career only to come back better and stronger than ever. He’s reinvented himself whenever the need arises, and I think this fight with Hughes could signal another career rebirth. Penn hasn’t peaked, and if he can keep a level head he definitely has a shot at making it a 2-1 trilogy.

It should be an excellent fight either way, which is one of the reasons I’m anticipating the UFC 123 card so highly. It’s a fight that everyone can enjoy, it’s a fight that’s marketable, entertaining, and makes sense right now. If Matt Hughes wins I sincerely believe that he’ll become UFC Welterweight Champion again. If BJ Penn wins I believe that he’ll hang around Welterweight for a few more fights before taking Lightweight by storm and getting “his” belt back. Even though Hughes has said that he’s fighting for the fun of it, there’s a lot riding on this fight for both men. So I can’t wait to see it happen.
And of course by "interesting", I mean "Wow, a Penn nut-hugger got it right!!"
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Old 09-23-2010, 05:06 PM
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This is a GREAT article! Really get to hear Matt's thoughts on the BJ fights.

Quote:
Hughes answers the call to fight, prepares for third crack at B.J. Penn


UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes was planning to take the rest of the year off when he answered the call a week ago.

UFC president Dana White was offering a rubber match against B.J. (The Prodigy) Penn on Nov. 20 at UFC 123 in Detroit.

“We’re all creatures of habit and I’m used to just kind of doing whatever the UFC says and I’m happy with that,” Hughes told The Canadian Press on Saturday. “Dana surely knew that I wanted to take the fall off, but he called.

“And he asked. He said ‘Hey, will you take the fight?’ He didn’t say ‘Hey, do you want the fight,’ he said ‘Will you?’ So I said yes. UFC’s been very good to me and I want to be the same person back to them.”

Detroit was also an attractive option. A Midwest city, it will probably be Hughes territory and it’s close enough to his home in Hillsboro, Ill., that people — including wife Audra who doesn’t like to fly — can drive to the fights.

For the UFC, it’s also a border city, with easy access to the huge Canadian MMA audience.

After accepting the matchup — the co-main event of the Palace at Auburn Hills card topped a battle of ex-light-heavyweight champions in Quinton (Rampage) Jackson and Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida — Hughes went on a planned elk hunt in Colorado.

Hughes (45-7) has made a career of saying yes to fights. And the former welterweight champion figured he could fit the Penn bout in before his schedule back home got crowded come the end of the year.

“The more I thought about the more I thought you know, I like it that I’m still kind of in shape so I can just kind of continue,” he said. “Just like I took the Almeida fight after Gracie, I was halfway in shape, I never really got out of shape. So it worked out good.”

The 36-year-old fighting farmer has won three straight: Ricardo Almeida via first-round submission at UFC 117 on Aug. 7, Renzo Grazie by third-round TKO at UFC 112 in April 10 and Matt Serra via unanimous decision at UFC 98 in May 2009.

Penn (15-7-1) has dropped back-to-back decisions to Frankie Edgar, losing his lightweight title at UFC 112 and then the rematch Aug. 28 at UFC 118.

Hughes, on his website, wrote he thought Penn didn’t look himself in the second fight.

The 31-year-old Penn is often a fighting enigma, but Hughes is operating on the basis that the Hawaiian will be in good shape having fought so recently and that he will be very motivated to win the rubber match.

“You never know who you’re going to get (when you fight B.J.) but I am fully aware that I’m going to face the best B.J. out there,” he said.
Hughes was downright dismissive of Penn when the Hawaiian elected to move up from 155 to 170 pounds for their first meeting at UFC 46 in January 2004.

But Hughes found himself in trouble early when he went down, losing his balance seemingly on a loose takedown attempt.

“I ended up in my back, which was fine, but B.J. did a very good job in that fight,” Hughes said. “He threw my legs past him and then came down with a big hard punch. And that’s really what rocked me and let him get his submission.

“I didn’t expect B.J., No. 1, to defend my (takedown) shots and, No. 2, I didn’t expect B.J. to be that aggressive on top of me.”

Penn won by rear naked choke in the first round, memorably kissing a bloody Hughes after the fight and then licking off the blood that had been transferred to his face.

Penn broke down in tears after having the championship belt wrapped around his waist.

Hughes was at the other end of the emotional spectrum.

“I took that loss pretty hard, because I really thought I would go in there and just walk through B.J.,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t shoot (for the takedown) real hard. I just thought I was going to go in, take him down to the ground and the ref would stop me after a matter of seconds from punching him. I just thought the whole weight class (thing) of him moving up to my weight class, I thought I was going to be just way too strong for him, and this and that.

“I had to take a little time and sit back and tell myself ‘You know, you just got beat by a guy who just bucked up weight classes’ and this and that. I had to focus a little bit after that fight, but in the end I think the loss was good for me.”

The rematch, at UFC 63 in September 2006, was an exciting cut-and-thrust affair with Penn looking very sharp in the first two rounds, almost stopping Hughes at the end of the second with a triangle-armbar attempt.
A different Penn — tired and tentative — came out in the third and Hughes moved in for the kill.

“I could feel his battery draining in the second round,” he recalled. “It’s one of those things when you see someone like that, it just motivates you even more to do some damage.

“It’s kind of a like a shark, when he smells blood he really goes for people and that’s one of the things I feed off of. I see weakness, it makes me more aggressive.”

Hughes got Penn on the ground and trapped his arms, so his head was defenceless. Hughes hit it more than 40 times before the referee stepped in.

“When people ask me what are my most memorable fights, I always say B.J. 2 because I was able to overcome the loss that really kind of shocked me, from being the world champion. B.J. 2 is a big fight for me.”

Both men have been pillars for the UFC. Penn is 11-6-1 in the Octagon, Hughes is 18-5.
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Old 09-23-2010, 05:13 PM
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Good read.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:03 PM
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http://mmaweekly.com/ufc-123-b-j-pen...to-matt-hughes

“Anything Matt Hughes does doesn’t surprise me, actually."

When I read this the first thing that popped into my head was Yoda’s voice saying "You will be... You WILL be."

Then I thought: Penn is probably expecting Matt to show up in shape, with an outstanding game plan. He probably expects Matt to keep the pressure on, meeting him wherever he tries to go, forcing mistakes and providing a laundry list of excuses for BJ to lose before crushing him into the mat.

Sooo... OK, I guess he won’t be surprised. Mwoohoohahahaha!
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dethbob View Post
http://mmaweekly.com/ufc-123-b-j-pen...to-matt-hughes

“Anything Matt Hughes does doesn’t surprise me, actually."

When I read this the first thing that popped into my head was Yoda’s voice saying "You will be... You WILL be."

Then I thought: Penn is probably expecting Matt to show up in shape, with an outstanding game plan. He probably expects Matt to keep the pressure on, meeting him wherever he tries to go, forcing mistakes and providing a laundry list of excuses for BJ to lose before crushing him into the mat.

Sooo... OK, I guess he won’t be surprised. Mwoohoohahahaha!
When you actually hear him in the interview he's actually complimenting Matt.He's not surprised by anything Matt does because he has a career of doing superhuman things.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:27 PM
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Good call, I got suckered on that one. The article was claiming the opposite, ‘he feels he knows what is in store’ etc.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Dethbob View Post
Good call, I got suckered on that one. The article was claiming the opposite, ‘he feels he knows what is in store’ etc.
Whoever wrote this is using the quote inappropriately.
The interview with Rogan on UFC Insider was pretty good. both Matt and BJ are very respectful of eachother.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llamafighter View Post
Whoever wrote this is using the quote inappropriately.
The interview with Rogan on UFC Insider was pretty good. both Matt and BJ are very respectful of eachother.
Agreed. I saw an article where they were playing it off as though Matt only wanted to fight BJ because he thought he was washed up. The title was something like "Hughes wants a tired Penn". What Matt had actually said was that a fresh Penn is dangerous Penn, so he wants to pressure him & wear him out.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:46 PM
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Matt Hughes Not Worried About Titles or Records, Just Having Fun

This is really a FANTASTIC article. MMAFighting.com is easily my favorite MMA News site & Mike Chiappetta seems to do a great job here of capturing Matt's character & attitude.

For those too ADHD for the whole article, I've put the interesting bits in BOLD:

Quote:
Many thought the end was coming for Matt Hughes. After losing to Thiago Alves at UFC 85, Hughes -- once a dominant welterweight champ -- suddenly found himself the loser of three out of four matches. Perhaps more alarmingly, he had been finished in all three defeats.

After accomplishing so much in his storied career, it seemed like Hughes had nothing left to fight for, and some suggested retirement was his best option.

Fast forward to today, and it's obvious the naysayers were a little premature in writing his career obituary.
Heading towards Saturday's UFC 123, Hughes is on the verge of winning four straight fights and possibly even working his way back into contender status. So how did he do it? Simple, the power of positive thinking.

"I'm going out there and having a good time," Hughes said. "I just go out and have fun. I try to cut all the pressure away. I'm not going out there trying not to lose. I'm trying to win and having a good time."

The UFC Hall of Famer said that he's managed to take all the pressure off his fighting career, content to enjoy himself in whatever remains of it.

He sure seemed to live that motto during a recent UFC 123 conference call, in which he was the life of the party on a call which included the always entertaining Quinton "Rampage" Jackson along with BJ Penn.

Hughes (45-7) seized one quiet moment during the call to say hello to all the competitors involved, saying the fighters rarely get the opportunity to see each other. At another point, he defended Jackson shortly after one reporter informed Jackson about Shaquille O'Neal's disparaging comments about "The A-Team" movie Jackson was in earlier this summer.

"I walked in that theater not knowing what to expect, but when I walked out, I had a smile on my face and said, 'That's my buddy up there,'" Hughes told a laughing Jackson.

But back to the business of fighting, Hughes will square off with BJ Penn on Nov. 20 in the last fight of a trilogy that will span nearly seven years. It was a fight that excited Hughes so much that he decided to bypass other obligations to take it and settle the 1-1 tie.

"One more paycheck this year will make my wife happy and get her off my back," Hughes joked.

But in reality, it's a fight he's long been interested in. Penn won the first bout in the series in January 2004 to capture the UFC welterweight championship from Hughes, ending his long reign. When they rematched in September 2006, Hughes was again the champ, but this time he overcame Penn's strong start to win via third-round TKO.

Because of their past history, Hughes feels there's more than just one match on the line.

"The way I feel is that if I lose this fight with BJ, it's like losing three fights," said Hughes. "And if I win this fight, it's like wining three fights. It's the final of the trilogy. There's a lot on the line. Three fights are on the line for this 15 minutes BJ and I are going to do battle."

If Hughes wins, it'd be a fourth straight victory, and two of them would be over former champs (the first win in the streak was a decision over Matt Serra).

For many, a four-fight win streak would give them reason to insist their name be part of the title picture. For a legend like Hughes, it would seem a no-brainer. But with the new, pressure-free version, fighting for a belt is not a necessity. He's just enjoying what's left of the ride.

"I'm kind of at a point now, it's whatever they offer," Hughes said. "I'm trying to concentrate on having a good time. If [UFC president] Dana [White] and the UFC come to me and say, 'Hey, we want you to take a shot at the title,' then that's fine. The way I see it, I'm set. I've never been a guy to chase the record books. I really don't care to hold any more records. I'm just ready to go out and have a good time and still compete. I still love to compete."

From the way he hung on the word "love," it's clear that Matt Hughes is far from done. He's having too much fun to stop.
Anyone got a link to the conference call? I'd love to hear Matt & Rampage joking back & forth.
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