Former UFC Welterweight Champion and MMA legend Matt Hughes is poised to take on Ricardo Almeida this Saturday at UFC 117. The once welterweight kingpin took to his personal website recently to touch base with his fans and let them know how his training camp has gone, what he expects to see from Almeida and how he feels about being the oldest fighter on Saturday’s card.
“Training was great for this fight,” Hughes wrote. “Had some tough workouts at my gym and also went out to Salt Lake City and got to train with Jeremy, his guys and Matt Pena. My three corners for this fight will be Robbie Lawler, Matt Pena and Jeremy Horn. I really feel that my cornermen are the best in the business.”
At 36 years old, Hughes will be the oldest fighter competing on Saturday’s card; a fact that he says likely would not have realized were a newspaper reporter not to point it out during an interview.
“Just did a little interview with my hometown paper, one of the questions was asking how I felt about being the oldest man on the card,” he wrote. “I turned around and said that I appreciated him pointing that out to me and that I hadn’t even thought about it. To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me. I guess I’m just glad I’ve been able to have as long of a career as I have. So many other people out there who have fought in the UFC wouldn’t even think of fighting as long as I have. So I guess I look at it as a privilege.”
The Hughes-Almeida fight is quietly being billed as a sort of grudge match, as Hughes recently defeated Almeida’s trainer and mentor Renzo Gracie. Hughes believes that his victory over Gracie will likely give Almeida added motivation to defeat him but he also believes that that victory also proves that he is a dangerous opponent.
“I think Ricardo will be hungry for this fight, I’ve beaten two Gracies and a teammate and, back about ten years ago, I beat Ricardo himself in a grappling match in Abu Dhabi,” wrote Hughes. “So on one hand he’s got a lot of motivation and on the other he sees what I just listed and knows I’m a threat. I think he will come at me hard and try to get me down to the ground somehow. He wants to be on top of me, but I’m sure if he’s on the ground he’ll be happier than on his feet.”
Hughes and Almeida will be squaring off on the main card of this Saturday’s UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen card which will be taking place at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The card will be headlined by UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva defending his title against challenger Chael Sonnen.