Matt Hughes: Father, husband, hunter, fighter

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When most people think of Matt Hughes, they think of a fighter, a champion of the most popular forum in Mixed Martial Arts. When fight fans think of Hughes, there’s no doubt they recall the prevailing image of his oh-so storied, often-repeated Octagon entrance. It usually goes something like this:

Hank Williams Jr.’s voice blares over the loud speaker singing “A Country Boy Can Survive.” Hughes’ pace is slowed by the song’s melodious rhythm as he moves through the crowd toward the eight-sided cage. He holds his 5-foot-7-inch frame high, ready to pound his opponent into submission. He’s a mean man, a certified bad dude. He approaches the ring with a surprising calmness that keeps him steady as he climbs the stairs into the Octagon. The music stops, and the fight is on.

Picture that entrance one more time, and remember what Hughes has done to the many men who have touched gloves with the most decorated welterweight the UFC has ever seen.

Now stop, erase that image from your mind. That’s what he wants you to do.

The nine-time UFC World Welterweight Champion doesn’t want to be known only for his days in the Octagon; he’s got his priorities straight. He’s much more than that, for sure. He’s a father, a husband, a hunter and a shooter.

“When they make my headstone for my grave, the last thing I want on there is ‘Fought in the UFC’ or ‘UFC Hall of Famer,'” Hughes said. “I want it to say that I was a good husband and a great father. Those are the things that are important to me.”

In fact, after more than 50 fights (45-7) in the MMA game, Hughes says that the biggest thrill of his life came in the deer blind. That is, if you don’t count the day he became a Christian six years ago, the day he married his wife and when his three children were born.

Hughes’ 11-year-old son Joey shot his first buck two years ago with his dad at his side.

“If you take my son’s deer and compare it to anything I’ve done in the Octagon, I’ve got to say I was more excited for my son.” Hughes said. “Just because I’ve been fighting for so long, and maybe I’ve gone stale on my career.

But my son getting his first buck was big for me because I know that he’s going to love doing that for the rest of his life and always remember that hunt with his dad. That’s the exciting thing for me, because he’ll never forget it.”

Full story: Matt Hughes: Father, Husband, Hunter, Fighter