The UFC has announced today that UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes will be returning to action soon, not against Royce Gracie at UFC: Rio this summer, as had been rumored, but against The Ultimate Fighter 1 middleweight winner Diego Sanchez at a currently unannounced event scheduled for sometime in fall.
“A matchup between two welterweight fan favorites has been verbally agreed to as Diego ‘The Dream’ Sanchez will face former UFC welterweight champion and Hall of Famer Matt Hughes,” said UFC President Dana White. “Sanchez is coming off of a Fight of Night winning performance against Martin Kampmann and Hughes is looking to add another great victory to his incredible UFC career.”
Hughes, who once held and defended the UFC welterweight title seven times, is currently coming off of a loss to fellow former champ BJ “The Prodigy” Penn — the two met last November at UFC 123 in a rubber match, which Penn took via first round knockout. Prior to that loss, Hughes had racked up three wins in a row over Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie, and Ricardo Almeida, respectively. With a record of 45-8 with 35 finishes, Hughes is one of the most decorated fighters in the sport. His history in the welterweight division is unmatched and the 37-year-old has mentioned over his last several outings that his time in the sport is nearing its end.
The fighter formerly known as “The Nightmare,” Diego Sanchez has reinvented himself since dropping two contests in a row, relocating back to his old home at Jackson – Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico and renaming himself “The Dream.” Failing in a title bid at lightweight against BJ Penn and then getting a rude welcome back to welterweight by John Hathaway, Sanchez was in a tough spot until he defeated Paulo Thiago in an exciting, vintage performance at UFC 121 and then shortly thereafter earned a decision nod over Martin Kampmann in a back-and-forth brawl. Both fights won Fight of the Night honors; the victories brought Sanchez’s record to 23-4.
The match up has been verbally agreed to by both fighters, but there has not yet been a date officially set for the fight.