It has been a long time coming, but UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes has officially retired from the sport that made him famous. Fortunately, Hughes has found a home within Zuffa as the new Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations, and this is not a position that the UFC created specifically for him. No, Dana White came to him sometime last year with the prospect of filling this position, but Hughes was still on the fence about retirement. It was his wife and White who finally made him contemplate hanging up the gloves, and while he says retirement is bittersweet, he is looking forward to continuing to grow the brand he helped create.
Hughes retires at just 3-4 in his last seven bouts. The losses were against top competition, with him being finished by Georges St. Pierre, Thiago Alves, BJ Penn and Josh Koscheck. The losses to Penn and Koscheck were the most brutal, as they had Hughes waking up on the canvas wondering what had happened. His three wins were vintage Hughes, with him finally beating verbal sparring partner Matt Serra by decision, Renzo Gracie by TKO, and Renzo Gracie black belt Ricardo Almedia by submission.
Part of Hughes’s new job has to deal with overseeing the new Code of Conduct that the UFC has implemented. According to UFC execs, this new policy is not really new, but it is something that was never in writing before. The code of conduct, while it sounds bad, is not what it seems. It does hold athletes accountable for their actions, amd is being implemented so fresh UFC stars have a mentor that will help them with their image, choices and development. That is the role Hughes will be filling as well, and he may truly be the right choice.