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Matt Hughes and Diego Sanchez verbally agree to Fall fight

Though paperwork is still in the process of being finalized, it appears UFC Hall of Fame welterweight Matt Hughes’ next challenge in a career having already pitted him against the bulk of his best peers will come in the form of original Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez at some point later this year.

News of the future match-up first surfaced on the UFC’s website earlier today where it was also explained the organization was targeting Fall for the fracas. However, no specific date or event was mentioned though logical landing spots for the bout include UFC Live 5, UFN 25, or UFC 135 given the timeframe and shows’ wide-open cards.

“The Dream” is coming off a razor thin decision against Martin Kampmann in their instant-classic at UFC Live 3 where he maintained aggression and focus for three rounds while enduring a number of cuts and significant swelling to his face courtesy of Kampmann’s precise striking. The performance marked Sanchez’s second straight victory since being outpointed in his return to welterweight by John Hathaway after a three-fight run at 155-pounds.

Meanwhile, Hughes will be looking to get back on the winning track after suffering an opening round knockout to B.J. Penn at UFC 123 last November. Prior to the defeat he had won three in a row including success against Ricardo Almeida and Matt Serra. The former UFC welterweight champ holds an overall record of 45-8 with thirty-five of the wins coming as the result of a finish.

  • Makington says:

    Can’t say I’m a fan of this fight, or any fight involving Matt Hughes for that matter. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Matt is going down the exact same road that Chuck Liddell just finished going down, and fighting a beast in his prime like Diego, it is just bad news for him. I get that after so many years where fighting is your life that it gets hard to give up the feeling of winning a big fight but it happens to everyone when you get older. Hughes may have a bit better of a time than Chuck since he relies on a more wrestling based style as opposed to a wide open striker style but he simply can’t compete with the best of the best anymore.

    I think he’s certainly still capable of winning fights in the UFC, but it just isn’t worth his time to fight the lower end fighters at Welterweight. A guy like Hughes has nothing left to prove to in the UFC. He’s earned his legend status, and I wish I could see him go out on a high note but I don’t think that’s possible anymore. But what the hell, I’m not his father, and I don’t know how his body feels, I just hate to see his pride tarnish his reputation and legacy.

  • Creature says:

    This will be an interesting fight.. Diego has always had probs with guys that are better wrestlers than him and hughes def fits that.. but hughes chin is not that great and diego has some good power.

    im gonna go with hughes via dec here.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Hughes has only been koed 1 time recently, and not by some chump so I’d not call him weak chinned or say he is looking like Chuck when Hughes has won 3 of his last 4 fights. In Deigo Hughes is facing a pretty decent opponent, a guy without true ko power like Penn and Matt can hold his own grappling with anybody so I see this as a pretty good fight.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    awesome fight. I think Diego is a little fresher due to Hughes’ age but I’ll never count the Country boy out completely. I think Makington is completely off base by drawing a comparison to Chuck. Matt got tagged with a perfectly placed, clean shot to the jaw – it would have rocked anyone. It was the first time Hughes had hit the canvas like that not the 4th, Make. If it happens again here, which you’re right on pointing out, very well could, then I’ll have my concerns..

  • Jak says:

    Great looking fight. Neither are contenders, both are hugely popular names in the MMA world.

    Hughes was great against Almeida, and Sanchez is always game for a fight of the night…

    what more could an MMA fan want…!

  • JOEgun says:

    i like this fight. i dont want to count hughes out but diego should win this. i wouldnt compare hughes to liddel at this point. i think diego will look even better shape than his last fight and more motivated too. diego has been hitting the weights and has decent boxing so hughes better put his hands up and look for that takedown. diego has better striking, good jits, and youth on his side but im gonna give the wrestling advantage to hughes. good fight cant wait

  • MCM says:

    I wouldn’t say Diego is not a contender. If he can get the W against Hughes (legitimately this time) than he will have put together three wins in a row over top 10/15 talent. It’s no Fitch streak, but I could see Dana trying to put Sanchez into a title fight or #1 contenders match with Condit, based on those wins.
    That said, he’s gonna have a much harder time with Hughes than some people are giving him credit for.

    Hughes is a more well rounded version of Kos (minus the KO power) and Diego has always struggled against top wrestlers. Add to that, what he was able to do with B.J. for the Fitch fight, and it shows that Matt still has some tricks up his sleeve.

    I think this one goes the distance with Hughes wining the first two (closely) and Sanchez taking the third, with Matt Hughes being declared the winner by Split Dec.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Alot of interesting comments…

    I think Diego gets the W… He won’t come in as Soft as he did against kampman and he will simply out work Hughes in the long run for a tight decision IMO

  • stone says:

    I TOTALLY AGREE with Makington….. He is goin down a very similar road as Liddell! He can beat up the “Senior Citizens” of the WW division BUT!, if he fights people like Diego or other “top 10” guys he would be going down the EXACT same road as Liddell… Hell yeah he won 3 of his last 4 but look at the opponents. Renzo, Ricky Ricardo and a close one with Serra… C’mon MANNN! Diego is gonna finish Hughes! As much as I hate to say it, Diego by KO or TKO

  • mu_shin says:

    Thinking along similar lines in one sense that Hughes has nothing to prove, but he’s taking this fight, and don’t see him coming out to lose.

    Several people mention Diego’s stuggles with wrestlers. If Hughes does a full and solid training camp for this fight, comes in healthy, he’s going to have a huge strength advantage over Sanchez, even at 37.

    Stylistically, doesn’t seem like a great fight for Diego, again, if Hughes takes it with the seriousness he should. No doubt Sanchez has speed and power in the striking game, and could get to Hughes with fast hands. If Diego does the requisite training for this fight, he should have strong cardio, but Hughes is known for that farmboy strength, and if this fight finds it’s way to the mat, I’m wondering if Sanchez can press a ground and pound advantage, or whether he’ll end up getting tied up and mauled.

  • I dont entirely disagree with makington but I think he’s jumpin the gun a little early on saying this. People act as if Matt Serra and Almeida are old washed up bums and not guys who have good records while fighting some good guys. Sure The Big Dog retired, and Serra’s rarely heard from, but its not because they were on gigantic losing streaks, they just have other things to do. The knockout Hughes suffered at Bj’s hands isnt indicitive of Matt’s chin going out…just like Chuck gettin KO’d by Rampage by that hook didnt show chuck was done..
    However Diego knocks out Matt I’ll change my argument. Until that happens, Im taking Matt by UD or maybe even sub. When Diego fights top tier (Penn, Fitch,) he loses

  • Makington says:

    I believe I was a little misunderstood. When I said going down Chuck’s road, I meant it by saying he can’t beat top competition anymore, which I still support. Obviously I’m in the minority on that one; that’s fine, but I won 50 bucks off my friend when I bet him he wouldn’t get out of the first minute with Penn. I also pointed out (not clearly enough) that he’s a wrestler who didn’t get punched for so many years the way Chuck did so I think it will be a little different. It’s not like he will go out there and get one-punched the way Chuck did, but Hughes is getting slower and his boxing hasn’t improved very much over the past few years. If he stands with Diego he will get outworked and with someone who can scramble like Diego he will have a very hard time laying on top of him. The only way I can see hughes pulling this one out is if he clinches Diego against the cage and is able to dirty box his way to a decision. I still don’t see that one happening due to Diego’s intensity and heart.

    I don’t mind that I’m the only one who thinks Hughes career is nearing the end of his career because I would love to watch Hughes fight for the rest of my life. I’m a huge fan of him and have never missed a fight of his but I just can’t see in my head him winning the fight. After the fight I may sway some of you to my view, or I may not, life goes on.

  • MCM says:

    I think the comparison to Chuck was misunderstood. Most of us know that Hughes is no longer the top dog at 170 and is closer to retirement than a title run. Maybe comparing him to Randy would have been a better choice. Chuck’s final run in the UFC was heart breaking, Randy’s going out on his own terms. I think Hughes will do the same.

  • Makington says:

    Very true as well MCM, that is a better reference haha.

  • Makington says:

    The wisdom of your mullet and mustache combo always comes through


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