“A country boy can survive.” For two-time UFC® welterweight champion Matt Hughes, those words echoed by singer Hank Williams Jr. don’t just serve as his inspiration before big fights. For the 36-year-old native of Hillsboro, Ill., those are words to live by.
Whether it was locking horns with the best of an era in the UFC or plowing acres upon acres of farmland growing up, Hughes’ unreal work ethic and drive have allowed him to not only survive, but excel.
You see, in the world of Matt Hughes, nothing is impossible. The self-proclaimed “farm boy” has proven that mantra time and time again inside the UFC’s hallowed Octagon™. Over a span of 12 years, Hughes has become one of the fiercest competitors to ever compete. What’s more, Hughes – considered by many to be the greatest 170-pounder to ever put on four-ounce gloves – has earned dominant victories over the sport’s most elite challengers.
From Royce Gracie to Georges St-Pierre to BJ Penn to Matt Serra, the four-time All-American collegiate wrestler has dominated the best-of-the-best while also defending the welterweight title seven times over two championship reigns. For these accomplishments, the UFC announced Hughes’ selection into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“When we look back at the history books, Matt Hughes will go down as one of the best 170-pounders of all time,” UFC President Dana White said. “This is one of the guys who helped build this organization. Matt’s credentials as a mixed martial artist speak for themselves and we’re proud that he now has a well-deserved spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.”
The official UFC Hall of Fame ceremony took place Friday, May 28 at 6:00pm PT at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center as a part of the UFC® FAN EXPO™. Hughes joined Chuck Liddell, Charles “Mask” Lewis, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Randy Couture, and Mark Coleman as members of the UFC Hall of Fame. Upon learning of his enshrinement, Hughes was truly honored.
“I never thought about this, to be honest,” said Hughes, who owns wins over six current or former UFC champions. “I’m just a Midwest guy kinda living the dream. But I’m very privileged and I thank the UFC. Shaking hands, signing autographs, being a world title holder and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, this is beyond what I ever would have pictured my life being.”