Matt Hughes is training harder than ever in his quest to regain the UFC welterweight title. But first, he'll have to get through Muay Thai specialist Thiago Alves at UFC 85


Name someone prominent in the talent-heavy UFC welterweight division.

Chances are Matt Hughes has dished them a beat down at some point. His mixed martial arts record of 43—6 includes a 15—4 record in UFC bouts, two welterweight championship victories and a ridiculous seven title defenses against some of the top fighters on the planet. Having blown past names like Georges St. Pierre, Sean Sherk, Royce Gracie and BJ Penn, Hughes has established himself as one of the best to ever step into the Octagon in any weight class.

But having lost two of his last three fights — most recently against St. Pierre in UFC 79 — and considering that Hughes is now 34 years old, some people have started to count him out as a serious contender in the division. This weekend (June 7), Hughes is aiming to exceed expectations in his bout against Thiago Alves in UFC 85: Bedlam by returning to his roots — simply being stronger and smarter than the other guy.

M&F: What are your thoughts on Alves referring to this weekend as "just another fight?"

Hughes: I think he's gotta look at it that way. I'm sure he's broken me down and done his homework on where he needs to be, what he needs to stay away from, what he has to do striking-wise. But I think he's trying to cut the pressure and not look at it as 'Hey, I'm finally in the main event,' 'Hey, I'm the last fight of the night.' I think he's just trying to cut the pressure.

M&F: Are you looking for him to fly in looking for a quick knockout?

Hughes: I think he'll come out and definitely try to KO me. But I think he knows that the more he tries for his KO, the more chances he gives me of taking him down. So he's gotta be cautious out there.

M&F: You've been quoted as saying that you'd like to have Matt Serra next but that you don't regard him as an A-list welterweight. Why is that particular fight so attractive to you?

Hughes: Well, I think it's a fight people want to see. I know I want to see that fight, ust from the way the reality show went and the comments he made before and after the show. It's a fight I wanna see, it's a fight people want to see and will pay for so UFC is definitely going to put it together.

M&F: Assuming you get past Alves and Serra, would you want your next fight to be a title bout with Georges St. Pierre?

Hughes: You know, that's way down the road. I'm actually not looking past Alves. I have two more fights left on my contract with UFC. I'll fight Thiago, I'll fight Matt Serra and then we'll just examine and see what happens after that.

M&F: What has your focus been in training camp for this fight?

Hughes: Getting stronger. I've been working a lot of weights. If you think you're stronger, you're definitely stronger. It's as a mindset as much as it as physical. So I've been working a lot of weights trying to get my body stronger and trying to get back to the old Matt Hughes, where I go in there, work my butt off, wear my opponent out and try to get as much striking in as I can.

M&F: What types of things have you been doing to build strength for this fight?

Hughes: Plyometrics for the legs, one bodypart a day, heavy lifting. That's it. I've actually broken my workouts into three workouts a day instead of two workouts a day. I was combining my lifting and cardio into one workout. Now I get up in the morning about 6:30 and get in a 20-40-minute run. After that I go back to the gym about 11, get my lift in and then my evening practice is my hard technique where I'm really sweating at the end. I'm trying to work a little smarter and still just as hard.

M&F: Are you doing anything conditioning-wise besides your early runs?

Hughes: That's where my evening practice comes in. After that, I'll be totally drenched. I work an hour and a half on the mats, then basically crawl off the mat and go looking for the shower. Those are my intense workouts where I'm working my cardio and my mindset — putting myself in bad situations because that's what you have to do to be prepared for a fight.

M&F: Is making weight ever hard for you?

Hughes: Yeah, making weight is a trial for me. Right now, I'm about 5-6 pounds over. Tonight I had some fruit and a Muscle Milk shake and that'll be about it. I've cut my water off and probably won't drink or eat again until after weigh in. I walked in at 185 and have to make 171, so 14 pounds is what I'll lose in this last week. But it's typical. It's not a big deal. It's nothing I'm going to worry about. I think my body's used to that because weight just flies off me when it's time for this to happen.

M&F: Alves says he hopes you're in the best shape of your life because that's the only way you have a chance. How do you feel, overall, about your shape going into this weekend?

Hughes: I feel great. I feel very positive about my cardio. I've trained for a five round fight because that's what I'm used to doing. No matter what happens, I'll stick by that 'til the end.

M&F: Finally, is there anything in particular you think your fans should be looking for when they tune in this weekend?

Hughes: I just want people to know that I'll be getting back to the old Matt Hughes — taking people down and beating them up on the ground. We'll just see what happens after that.

Matt Hughes
MMA Record: 43-6, 13 KO, 18 submissions
Height: 5'9"
Fight weight: 170 pounds (welterweight)
Date of Birth: October 13, 1973
Style: Combat submission wrestling
Titles: Former two-time UFC Welterweight Champion
Notable wins: BJ Penn, Georges St. Pierre, Frank Trigg (twice), Royce Gracie, Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton and Sean Sherk

Catch Hughes in action against Alves this Saturday (June 7) at 8:00 pm BST in UFC 85: Bedlam, live from the O2 Arena in London, England, on pay-per-view in the USA, and on Setanta Sports in the United Kingdom. For more info, additional articles and bios on both fighters, visit

For more information on Matt Hughes, visit his website at

Will Hughes get past Alves and face Matt Serra later this year? Vote on how you think the main event will go by clicking here.