Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes hasn’t seen the inside of an Octagon since he was thoroughly beaten in one at UFC 85. Though a 12-month hiatus might worry some, this 35-year-old actually appreciated it.
“Well you know, I’m getting older now,” Hughes said. “So the time off was actually pretty nice. But I’ve switched things up a little bit. I went to a lot of training camps. I went out a lot to different places and didn’t stay home as much.”
Hughes injured his knee when he lost to Thiago Alves and has been rehabbing and training ever since. Although he enjoyed his mini-break, he’s ready to put an end to it and fight his bitter rival Matt Serra today at UFC 98.
A lot of time has passed since these two started their grudge back on the set of The Ultimate Fighter 4. Hughes made a brief guest appearance, however his cameo was more than enough time to rub the outspoken Serra the wrong way.
Since that encounter, the two have made no apologies for the level of hatred they share for one another. Although it started over two years ago, the UFC’s greatest 170-pound champ is anxious to finally be able to settle things.
“Obviously, him and I still want this fight to go on,” Hughes stated. “So the bottom line is nothing’s really changed.”
Serra despising him doesn’t bother Hughes in the least, he’s used to people resenting him at this point in his career. However, he is quick to point out that he has just as many fans as he does foes.
“I think any time you voice your opinion or you’re just an outspoken guy or you just wear your heart on your sleeve, you’re going to have people that love you and people that hate you,” Hughes said. “And I get a fair amount of fan mail. And obviously I get some hate mail, too.
“I don’t mind you know. It’s all part of the game and I don’t sweat it either way.”