BJ Penn and Matt Hughes stepped into the octagon together for the third time in their careers at UFC 123 tonight for their long awaited rubber match to establish once and for all who is the better fighter.
The fight had barely begun before it ended as Penn came out strongly, tagging Hughes with a few punches and then landed a pin-point right hand that floored Hughes. All that was required then was a few additional punches on the floor to bring the fight to an abrupt halt after just 21 seconds.
Emotions were clearly running high for both men after the KO with Penn running out of the octagon in delight before being brought back in, while Hughes hung his head looking stunned and dejected.
“I love you Detroit. I love you UFC, I love you Matt Hughes,” a jubilant Penn said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, before telling Hughes that he was still his idol.
This was the BJ Penn of old putting in the kind of performance that made him a legend in the sport and will no doubt help exorcise some of the demons haunting him after back-to-back defeats to Frankie Edgar at lightweight.
Meanwhile Hughes looked at a loss for words when he was interviewed, saying that the punch had hit him hard and admitting that he didn’t know what comes next after this defeat. Retirement has been something in the back of the former champions mind for some time and will no doubt be something the 37 year old will now be seriously considering.