Josh Koscheck may have handed Matt Hughes the last defeat of his illustrious career tonight at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, having knocked out the former world champ in the first round of their UFC 135 co-main event fight.
Hughes didn’t make it easy for Koscheck though; he came out of the gate hard, establishing a nice, stiff jab and lead left hook that threw Koscheck off. He stuffed Koscheck’s vaunted double leg with ease and continually made him pay with strikes. All the younger man needed was one opening though and when he got it, he took it. Hughes was moving in to close the distance and Koscheck cracked him with a punch inside, putting him on shaky legs. Though Hughes hung tough and did his best to fight back, Koscheck kept up his assault until Hughes wilted to the mat. With mere seconds left on the clock, he teed off until the referee was forced to stop the action.
Koscheck is known for playing the heel, but he had nothing but respect for Hughes following the fight.
“I just want to say thanks to Matt Hughes for taking this fight late in his career,” said Koscheck. “He’s a legend and I’m really proud that I had the opportunity to fight a legend like Matt Hughes.”
For Hughes, who is reportedly on the last fight of his current contract, this looks like the end. He stopped short of declaring the end of his career though, stating that he just wants some time to make that choice.
“I’m not retiring,” Hughes said. “I’m going to tell the UFC to put me up on a shelf and we’ll see what happens after that.”
With the victory, Koscheck improves to 16-5, successfully returning from defeat and serious injury to put one back in the win column. Hughes falls to 45-9, with his last two contests ending via first-round knockout.