Last night at UFC 135 may well have been the last time we’ll ever see hall-of-famer Matt Hughes in the Octagon after he suffered a knockout loss to Josh Kosheck.
Afterwards an emotional Hughes turned down the opportunity to appear at the post-fight presser, but he did speak with UFC.com about the fight.
If it was to be his last appearance then he’ll have bowed out having had a great reception from the Denver crowd, something that he appeared to genuinely appreciate.
“I love the fans. I love walking out and having that support. I’ve always had crowd support, but this time…I don’t know if it’s because they liked me or really disliked Josh…but really I can’t say much bad about Josh. He was kind of a gentleman the whole time we were leading up to this fight.”
Hughes actually had made a good start to the fight and was making good use of the jab, a weapon that Koscheck’s last opponent Georges St.Pierre had a great deal of success with.
“I love my jab. GSP did it very effectively against Koscheck so, yeah, it was on my mind that I’m going to snap that jab up there, keep my shoulder high and hopefully keep his big right hand from hitting me in a tender spot.”
In the end Koscheck did connect, and Hughes admits it’s all still a bit of a blur to him as to what exactly happened.
“It all happened so fast, I don’t know. I know that I threw with a knee that really connected earlier in the round, I actually saw some blood coming out of his lip. So, I got in another clinch, I tried throwing that big knee again, and I didn’t keep my foot on the ground and fell down and he finished it off with some big shots.”
So what comes next for Hughes? There’s been a lot of talk about him retiring, but he’s not comitting 100% to the idea just yet.
“I’m not readily available. I’m not retiring, so it’s not like I won’t fight again, but put me on my shelf. I’m going to go home, I’m going to talk to my wife, fly back to Vegas and talk to Lorenzo [Fertitta] and DW in a couple of months and figure out what I’m gonna do.
“[I’m] 37 years old, about to be 38 and I want to raise my kids so there’s a few other priorities I have than just stepping into the Octagon and fighting.”
If he does hang up the gloves then Hughes admits that there’s a lot he’ll miss about being a part of the sport.
“I love the 65 year-old lady who comes up to me and gives me a kiss on the cheek and says, ‘You’re my favorite fighter,’ you know? That really means something. The 19 through 35 year-old guys, that’s expected, but you just never know who’s going to be a big fan of the sport. I’ll miss that.
“What I’m going to miss the most is the good times with my friends. I always bring a crew of my boys with me and whether it’s right here right now at the fight or the week leading up to the fight when we’re out here at the town that’s hosting we have a good time, so I’m definitely going to miss those fellowship moments with my buddies.”
For the record, while Hughes didn’t specifically state that he was going to retire, UFC president Dana White stated at the post-fight press conference that he’s convinced that is the case.
“I think he’s going to retire,” White confirmed. “I just don’t think Hughes wants to say the word ‘retire.’”