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Matt Announces His Retirement and Takes On A New Role With the UFC

   January 24th, 2013



Matt Hughes, the legendary Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) Hall of Famer and former two-time welterweight champion, officially announced his retirement from UFC competition today. He has eagerly accepted a new role as he joins the organization’s front office, taking the newly created position of Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations.

To coincide with this appointment, UFC has also created a clear set of athlete guidelines, or Conduct Policy, memorializing the values long held by the organization. As ambassadors of the sport and the organization, UFC athletes have always been held to a high standard. The UFC recognizes that athletes face both professional and personal pressures, and with health and safety paramount, the Conduct Policy coupled with the new resource Hughes will provide in his role, best positions UFC athletes for a successful career and post-UFC future.

“Hughes will be an invaluable resource for UFC athletes,” Lawrence Epstein, UFC COO, said. “Leveraging the background and expertise he gained over a Hall of Fame career, Hughes will be dedicated to providing guidance on a wide range of issues athletes face inside and outside of the Octagon®. This includes understanding the heightened social responsibility that comes with being in the public eye, to best practices when dealing with endorsements or managing finances, to the basic daily challenges of staying healthy during training, as well as the need to steer clear of illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs. In addition to his work with UFC athletes, Hughes will engage with state athletic commissions and international federations to provide regulatory insight from the perspective of a professional athlete.”

“This is something that the UFC is implementing because they really care about their athletes,” Hughes said. “I’ve experienced ups and downs in my career and found that the UFC has supported me every step of the way. I understand the pressures and responsibilities that go along with being a professional athlete. I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to provide insight and perspective on behalf of athletes and the organization.”

“Matt is one of those guys that was there from the early days and helped grow MMA to the modern, professional sport it is today,” UFC president Dana White said. “He has been in the sport since the late 1990s and really seen it all. Matt is a two-time world champion in the UFC, he’s coached The Ultimate Fighter® reality series twice, has fought all over the world and has been in every situation a fighter can be in. Matt’s expertise makes him highly qualified for this.”

As a two-time UFC welterweight champion (2001 to 2004, 2004 to 2006), Hughes brings a wealth of experience to the role. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University where he was a two-time All-American NCAA Division I wrestler, Hughes began his mixed martial arts career in 1998, and would go on to not only be the first man to regain the UFC’s welterweight championship, but also compete all over the United States as well as Japan, England, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait while cementing his reputation as one of the all-time greats. In recognition of his enormous contribution to the sport both inside and outside the Octagon, Hughes became the eighth man to be inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame in May 2010.

Hughes is also a successful businessman outside of the Octagon, having run an agricultural company parallel to his fighting career. His charitable and community involvement includes mentoring and helping young people of his hometown Hillsboro, Ill. travel for mission trips.

The announcement of Matt’s retirement starts at the 11:20 mark and ends at the 20:45 mark of the following video:

15 Responses to “Matt Announces His Retirement and Takes On A New Role With the UFC”

hayman Says:

well matt, thank you for all the great fights, i hope you have time now to spend hunting, and with your family with this new position. congratulations, well deserved… not a better person for this job, congrats! a country boy can survive!!

andy Says:

Matt thanks for all the great fights and being a class act.. if u make it back to haines city fl. To visit kens archery shop hopefully i get to meet u again.. best wishes on your new journey

Philippe Says:

From a French fan, thank you for giving everything and entertaining us. You are the best in my eyes. Congratulations for the new position with the UFC !

chris coleman Says:

today is both a sad and happy day. waking up to the news that you have retired. my 9 year old wants me to tell you as well, that you are an inspiration to us and we will miss seeing you compete. good luck in your new career and take care

chris and peyton coleman

Everett H. Says:

GOAT. What else needs to be said?

Ty Says:

Hi, Matt:

Congratulations on a GREAT fighting career!!! I think you are a good, strong Christian example. God bless and keep you and your loved ones, always! And congratulations on your new position in the UFC; I know you will be very successful!

In Christ Jesus,

steve from australia Says:

a great career thankyou matt

James Says:

Matt, thank you for all the amazing fights you gave us, for the awesome champion you were, and the testament that you showed, always giving credit to the Lord. I’m glad you’ll still be around, and I hope we’ll still see some interviews and insight from you. So for the last time: WAR HUGHES

Dan Wanger Says:

Congrats on your New Job Brother Matt!

Seth Says:

Matt, Congrats on your new gig. I just happened to run into your brother Mark last night in Alton at Fast Eddies. At first I thought it was you and I was in total shock and couldn’t think right. I was so in shock i couldn’t even think of your name. I shook his hand, very nice guy.

Ben R. Says:

Congrats, did you catch Opie and Anthony with Mike Tyson last week? Dana is great friends with them, I would ask for a copy. Tyson basically said you were the warrior he loves most to watch. You made him an MMA fan with the Royce Gracie fight. It was really cool to hear him talk so passionately about your talents:) He definitely studies the tape. Have you two met? The pic would be cool if you have:)

FC Bojie Says:

Congrats Idol Matt… You are The Best MMA Champion…

Sanjay Singh Says:

I’ve been wanting to write Matt Hughes for a while to express my admiration for the unbelievable heart and determination as well as humility and class he showed during his storied UFC career. I think this is the right time to write up a tribute to A Real American Hero.

I remember seeing him defeat one of the best MMA guys from UFC’s early days, one Carlos Newton, with sheer brute strength by lifting him right up and slamming him down and knocking him out, and becoming UFC champion for the first time. To quote a disbelieving Matt Hughes, “…I’m waking up from a dream.” Then there were the two fights with Frank Trigg. Frank Trigg was defeated the first time, and was talking smack every chance he could in interviews, probably to convince himself he had a chance. Matt didn’t let this get to him, and basically said he had to teach Trigg not to shoot his mouth off and talk crap. But even after Matt got kicked in the groin in the second fight and was nearly rear naked choked, he managed to escape and recover and choked Trigg out with what else, a rear naked choke. The roar of the crowd was deafening and deservedly so! Never in MMA history has anyone pulled off a comeback like that. This showed Matt Hughes was forged just a little stronger and just a little better tempered than practically anyone else in the UFC. Even more amazing, during the fight against Royce Gracie, Matt showed mercy in the Octagon, by purposely changing to another tactic, rather than intentionally causing very severe injury to Gracie’s arm, to force a submission. Matt emerged the victor in this contest with an MMA legend, causing no more harm than was necessary to win, and become the standard bearer for a new generation of combatants. The legends of the past, and even the biggest names of today have been defeated fair and square by Matt Hughes at some point in their career.

But most importantly Matt Hughes has a biblical sense of destiny and dignity, and chose the right time to retire from the combat arena that is the UFC, leaving the pugilism to others in the hopes that their legacies might one day compare to that which he has already accomplished. The great Matt Hughes has left the UFC something priceless, a model of strength, heart, conduct and compassion that few have a chance to equal, and even fewer will ever equal. He is an inspiration not only stateside, but worldwide. I think he embodies the very best qualities of the American people; overwhelmingly strong, but spiritually compassionate, and humble out of deference to a greater power that made him who he is.

Matt Hughes new career as Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the UFC, and no one is better suited than Matt is for this important role as policy maker and counsellor. Even as one stage of his life passes, a new one is beginning. In the transitions from farmer to collegiate wrestler to UFC gladiator to inaugural MMA ambassador, the story is not yet complete. For Matt Hughes, the best is yet to come.

Thank you Matt Hughes for giving so much of yourself to UFC and MMA, for being a great role model, and above all for being true to your family values and to the American Spirit.



Jeff bee Says:

Congrats Matt. The Bee family wishes you well.

Mike Brehm Says:

Enjoy your retirement and congratulations on your new position in the UFC! Great job!

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