Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes has officially retired from mixed martial arts competition, and will immediately begin his position as the UFC’s vice president of athlete development, UFC president Dana White announced on Thursday.
Hughes’ first responsibility in his new role, according to UFC COO Lawrence Epstein, will be to spearhead a written code of conduct for UFC fighters to follow, in addition to mentoring all contracted fighters in the organization.
“What started out as a hobby brought me to the UFC and here in front of you now,” Hughes said at the UFC on FOX press conference. “I love this sport, and the new position is the best way to stay in it moving forward.”
A man of few words, Hughes also thanked the UFC and said he looks forward to using his experience in providing a prospective for both the UFC and the fighters.
Hughes finishes his career with a 45-9 record, and is widely regarded by his colleagues, media and fans as the greatest UFC welterweight champion of all time. He first won the title back in November 2001 at UFC 34 with a knockout slam of Carlos Newton. He defended the title five times before submitting to B.J. Penn at UFC 46, a loss he avenged at UFC 63.
Hughes won the belt one more time with a win over current welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre at UFC 50 in 2004, only to lose the belt just over two years later to St-Pierre at UFC 65.
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