If the 39-year-old has any regrets in his octagon career, it’s that he wasn’t able to move up to middleweight to fight for a title. He said he would have fought Evan Tanner for the belt if Tanner had beaten his longtime friend Rich Franklin at UFC 53, but Franklin won, and told the UFC he wouldn’t face Franklin at the conclusion of “The Ultimate Fighter 2.”
“Anderson Silva,” Hughes said of the fighter he most wanted to face. “I always wanted to go up to 185 to put the belts together.”
Instead, Hughes settled in at welterweight. He said his first rematch with Penn, which saw him earn a third-round TKO, and a first-round TKO of Royce Gracie remain among his favorite memories in the UFC.
The potential Hughes-Tanner bout has been a good MMA trivia question for a long time. It's also interesting to think about what would have been if Frank Trigg had finished what he started in the first round against Hughes at UFC 52. It would have been him as a coach on "TUF 2" against Franklin.