The extended New Year’s weekend that just passed left us with a lot of questions, especially when it comes to the big names that ended up coming up short in their fights - Wanderlei Silva, Gilbert Melendez, Murilo Bustamante, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou for starters.
However the biggest question involves Matt Hughes. Is it time for the former nine-time UFC welterweight champion to hang up the gloves?
In my opinion, no. At 34, Hughes still has at least a couple of solid years left in him. I’d still pick him to beat a lot of guys in the UFC’s welterweight division, Matt Serra included.
At the UFC 79 post-fight press conference, it seemed like Hughes was truly set on sitting down and thinking hard about his future:
“I’m not gonna come out here and be somebody’s highlight reel. It’s just not me,” Hughes said. “I just have to go back to the drawing board and see what’s going on, see what I want to do. I’ve got to see what my family wants to do and I’ve got to pray on it. Dana White and the UFC have treated me like family, so I’ve got to see what they want me to do and I’ve got to see where my heart is at.”
Now after talking to White and the Fertitta brothers, I get the impression that Hughes still has the drive inside of him:
I’m going to take some time off and think about things. I’ve already talked to Dana and Lorenzo, and we’ll probably see what happens with Georges and Serra. And if Serra loses, I might go against him. Nothing is set in stone, just an idea right now.
I’m not sure that time off is the best thing for Hughes fighting-wise, especially after coming off a nine-month layoff. However for someone that is questioning themselves mentally in terms of where their career stands, I guess it can only be a good thing.
Throwing all of the negativity going around about Hughes’ personality out the window, I hope he continues to fight for a couple more years. He’s always been an exciting guy to watch compete and I think he still has a few good fights left in him.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released the official list of medical suspensions stemming from this past weekend’s UFC 79: Nemesis, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The notable potential injury not mentioned on the list involved Nate Mohr, who had to be helped out of the cage after being submitted with an ankle lock by Manny Gamburyan. Various reports have made statements ranging from Mohr’s trainers hearing “a pop” to Mohr having a broken leg. Mohr has been medically suspended anyway until January 20th with no contact allowed until January 13th for precautionary reasons.
Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Tony DeSouza have all been medically suspended until January 29th with no contact permitted until January 20th. Both Hughes and DeSouza have been suspended for precautionary reasons while Liddell has a laceration above his left eye.
James Irvin, who was knocked out by an illegal knee from Luis Cane, has been shelved until February 28th with no contact until January 13th because of precautionary reasons.
Both Wanderlei Silva and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou have been medically suspended until February 13th with no contact permitted until January 29th because of laceration around their right eyes.
Soa Palelei and Doug Evans received the worst medical suspensions. Palelei has been suspended until June 27th unless a broken nose and broken left orbital bone suffered in his fight with Eddie Sanchez are cleared by an ophthalmologist. Evans has been suspended for the same length of time unless a broken left thumb is cleared by a doctor. If it is, he will still be suspended until February 13th with no contact until January 29th because of an additional cut above his left eye.
Photo by Ed Pollard.
Georges St. Pierre came closer to cementing his status as the top welterweight in the world when he gave future UFC hall-of-famer Matt Hughes a drubbing over the course of two rounds before submitting his idol with an armbar during the main event of last night’s UFC 79: Nemesis.
Hughes was originally slated to face fellow Ultimate Fighter 6 coach and current welterweight champ Matt Serra but Serra was forced to pull out of the bout after suffering herniated discs in his lower back during training. Hughes was then given a selective list of opponents that agreed to step in and the former nine-time champion picked St. Pierre in an attempt to try and avenge a prior loss to “Rush” at UFC 65 last year.
However it was obvious from the start of the fight that it was only a matter of time before St. Pierre was going to come away with a win. The Canadian took Hughes down at will throughout the first round, mounting his opponent and connecting with a number of unanswered punches while his opponent held on for dear life.
Hughes found his way back to his feet a couple of times but St. Pierre quickly put an end to that with wrestling skills that have made him consider possibly trying out for the Canadian Olympic wrestling squad next year.
The second round started off much like the first and after mounting and taking his opponent’s back, St. Pierre locked in an armbar that caused Hughes’ face to grimace in pain. The Hillsboro, Illinois native then verbally submitted to referee Steve Mazzagatti, ending the fight.
Many fans showed concern when St. Pierre took the fight on short notice as he would only have a little over a month to prepare for the bout. Training wasn’t an excuse for Hughes during a post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.
“I came in 120 percent,” Hughes said. “I really trained hard for this fight. I brought in some of the best people and we really had a good game plan. Georges is just a better fighter.”
Hughes also acknowledged that he “had some thinking to do” in terms of continuing his career.
With the win, St. Pierre becomes the interim UFC welterweight champion. He will now wait for Serra to fully recover from his injury and the two will unify the belts at some point next year.
Even though he deserved the win with a show of complete domination, St. Pierre refused to consider himself the welterweight champion, as that distinction is held by the last man to defeat St. Pierre inside the Octagon.
“That’s why I’m going to take off this belt,” St. Pierre said after the fight. “Thanks to the UFC for giving me that; it’s a good honor, but the real champion is Matt Serra. Until I get my belt back, I’m not going to consider myself champion. Matt Serra that night beat me fair and square. He was the better man and I made many mistakes and had a lot of issues that night. Next time when I fight him, it might be a different story and people will understand what I’m talking about.”
We will be going live at 8:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 79: Nemesis, which is taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event is highlighted by Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre battling for the third time in their careers for the interim UFC Welterweight Title and the long-awaited matchup between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the night.
Live results are shown after the jump.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s UFC 79: Nemesis are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
Things heated up really fast during the stare-down between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. Silva empathically ripped off his shirt before approaching Liddell. After an intense stare-down between the two, Silva faked a move towards Liddell and Liddell responded by flipping his opponent the bird. Silva started to walk towards Liddell and officials and trainers all jumped in but order was quickly restored.
Matt Hughes (170 lbs) vs. Georges St. Pierre (170 lbs)
Chuck Liddell (204 lbs) vs. Wanderlei Silva (205 lbs)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (205 lbs) vs. Ryoto Machida (204 lbs)
Rich Clementi (155 lbs) vs. Melvin Guillard (156 lbs)
Eddie Sanchez (239 lbs) vs. Soa Palalei (262 lbs)
Dean Lister (186 lbs) vs. Jordan Radev (185 lbs)
James Irvin (205 lbs) vs. Luis Cane (205 lbs)
Roan Carneiro (170 lbs) vs. Tony DeSouza (170 lbs)
Manny Gamburyan (155 lbs) vs. Nate Mohr (155 lbs)
Doug Evans (155 lbs) vs. Mark Bocek (155 lbs)
Above is an official preview video for UFC 79 courtesy of the UFC as well as a preview for tonight’s UFC All-Access with Wanderlei Silva.
News and Notes
-White Chocolate Management has filed a lawsuit against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and his manager, Juanito Ibarra because of a breach of contract the two had with the company.
According to Sherdog, WCM was forced to file a lawsuit after Ibarra went out of his way to block all incoming transactions and deals offered to Jackson:
WCM President Reed Wallace is asking for $10,000,000 in damages after being “forced into filing the lawsuit by Rampage’s manager Juanito Ibarra, who ‘bad mouthed’” WCM, according to a news release issued by the plaintiff on Thursday.
Wallace said that while the fighter remained friendly, the champion’s manager has “rejected or blocked all transactions and deals offered to Rampage from WCM. Ibarra then went behind WCM and contacted or had his agent contact those very same parties that WCM brought to the table.”
- The mother of UFC middleweight Drew McFedries was found dead in a Davenport, Iowa alleyway according to a report by The Quad-City Times:
The woman who was found dead in an alley in Davenport was the victim of a homicide, an autopsy revealed, though police are not saying exactly how. Agnes McFedries-Kennedy, 51, was found Saturday evening lying in the alley in the 1800 block between West 7th and West 8th streets. A couple returning to a residence near the scene discovered the body.
All of us at MMA on Tap would like to send our condolences to Drew and his family.
- Every long-time MMA fan loves to read about past adventures involving Lee Murray. Here’s Pat Miletich’s account of the infamous street fight between Murray and Tito Ortiz through the words of Matt Hughes via his new book.
Ever wonder why a lot of people don’t like Hughes? Be sure to check this out.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for both of the finds.
- Din Thomas expects to return to action in March according to a recent interview with The Fight Network.
- Jarry Park has a preview of all of the New Year’s Eve MMA events going on.
John Chandler here, breaking down UFC 79: Nemesis fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.
UFC 79: Nemesis features ten fights including the third fight between Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Title and the most anticipated fight in mixed martial arts history when Chuck Liddell takes on arch-rival Wanderlei Silva in a fight years in the making.
Georges St. Pierre discusses his upcoming bout against Matt Hughes for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 79: Nemesis this Saturday night and what his mentality was like going into his past fights against Hughes.
Matt Hughes discusses his upcoming fight against fellow former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 79: Nemesis this weekend. Hughes also talks about the reasoning behind wanting to fight both St. Pierre and Matt Serra as well as the theory that a fighter is a paper champion unless he successfully defends his belt with ESPN.
That may be the case. According to Matt Hughes’ personal website, that is exactly what is happening.
I’m going to fight Georges St. Pierre on December 29th. I’ve got a couple reasons why I’ve made this decision and I will share those at a later time. I’ve asked for this to be for an interim title and if Matt Serra can’t fight in a year, then this would just be the title fight; but I don’t know if that is going to happen right now. I will keep you all posted.
EDIT: This WILL BE for the interim title, so it will be a 5-round fight. -Matt
As John wrote earlier, this is the replacement fight that makes the most sense. The biggest question is whether GSP is prepared to take the fight on 5 weeks notice. The thoughts postulated across the web are that GSP had been training with Rashad Evans in preparation for Evans’ UFC 78 fight. Thus he’s physically prepared, its just the gameplanning that needs to be taken care of.
Of course, this is still up in the air until we get confirmation from either GSP himself or the UFC. Stay tuned…
Update 10:05 PM: The UFC has confirmed the fight on it’s official website. - John