Matt Hughes’ long-expected entry into the UFC Hall of Fame was made official on Friday, as the former welterweight champion was inducted by UFC President Dana White during a ceremony at the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas.
A two-time Division I All-American wrestler, Hughes made his MMA debut on New Year’s Day 1998 and quickly made his way to the Octagon, where he debuted with a victory over Valeri Ignatov in September 1999 to improve to 9-1. After improving to 29-3 just two years later, Hughes permanently returned to the UFC in 2001, winning the welterweight title from Carlos Newton and successfully defending it five-times before dropping it to BJ Penn in 2004.
Hughes quickly reclaimed the belt with a victory over Georges St-Pierre later that year, but after four more wins and two title defenses, lost the title to GSP in 2006. After coming up short against St-Pierre in late-2007 in a bid for the interim 170-pound title, Hughes would lose again to Thiago Alves before recently rebounding with back-to-back wins over Matt Serra and Renzo Gracie.
Hughes now stands at 44-7 overall on his career with a 17-5 mark in the UFC, and currently holds the UFC record for wins (17) and title defenses (7), while being tied with Randy Couture for the most title fights (9).
He joins Chuck Liddell, Charles “Mask” Lewis (TapouT founder), Randy Couture, Mark Coleman, Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, and Dan Severn in the UFC Hall of Fame.