Former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes has been enjoying a late-career surge and will be looking to add on to his current three-fight winning streak when he takes on former rival BJ Penn in a rubber match later this month. Having faced each other twice already in the UFC’s welterweight division (with Penn taking the first fight and Hughes winning the latest installment), Hughes believes that the two veterans will have no trouble picking up where they left off this time around.
“It’s a huge fight. No ifs, ands or buts about it,” said Hughes. “I think we know each other pretty well. We’re both competitors. We’ve been in the Octagon a lot and we’ll get right to it. When I step in there and the ref says, ‘Go,’ I’ll go straight for the game plan.”
Technically speaking, Hughes sees his powerhouse wrestling as being his biggest advantage come fight night, but he is entering this fight with no delusions of Penn’s own technical prowess.
“I think my wrestling is going to be superior to his but his striking is great and his ground game is great,” Hughes said. “He can catch you in positions and submissions that maybe I’ve not seen before, or I’ve not faced people that have the flexibility to do the things he does. He’s very unorthodox.”
The 37-year old fighter also expressed his current pure enjoyment of the fight game and said that he is having no troubles finding motivation to prepare for Penn.
“I’m enjoying the fighting right now, I really am. I’m having a fun time walking into the gym everyday. Having a great time walking to the Octagon and stepping in. I gotta say I’m still just living the dream, having a good time with it.”
Hughes and Penn will square off for the third time later this month at UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida, which is going down at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan on the 20th.