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Интервю с Matt Hughes


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If you have a co-worker you just can't stand, you know how Matt Hughes and Matt Serra feel about each other. But at your job, you probably can't get away with punching, kicking or choking out that intolerable office mate.

Hughes and Serra, however, will settle their differences in the Octagon at UFC 98, and they can't wait. When I interviewed Hughes about their upcoming fight, he sounded excited and energetic about the opportunity to step into the cage with Serra, the man he's feuded with since they coached against each other on The Ultimate Fighter. The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: How much do you dislike Matt Serra personally?

Matt Hughes: Before the show I really didn't dislike him. I didn't care about him. But after watching the show, seeing the things he said and did, yeah, I definitely have a dislike for him now, just because he doesn't know what he's talking about. And when he doesn't know what he's talking about, he still talks like he does. I have a dislike for him because of what he said and did on The Ultimate Fighter.

Is it good for you to dislike your opponent? Does it help motivate you in preparation for your fight?

I definitely think it does. I've had 50 fights now, and it's not boring by any means, but having that extra motivation is definitely good. It's gotten me back in the weight room, and I'm in shape, and having that extra motivation of not liking the person I'm fighting has been very good for me after I've had so many fights.

Are you disappointed that it took so long for you two to finally get him in the Octagon?

Yeah, I am, but it doesn't matter. It looks like it's going to happen now, and as long as it happens that's great with me.

What's your opinion of him as a fighter? What are his strengths and weaknesses?

He's obviously got a tough ground game. There's no doubt about that. He's got power in his hands. He knocked Georges St. Pierre down. He's fairly strong and physically he has some strength. But I don't see him catching me on the ground with a submission, and in everything except that I think I'm better than he is. I think I'm stronger than he is, I think I have better cardio than he does, I obviously have more experience than he has. I think I'll be heavier when it comes to fight time. I think I'll have a reach advantage when we're on our feet. And the big key is I think my wrestling is really going to far outweigh any wrestling he can do. I think my wrestling is going to be a pretty key part of the fight.

Another person you had a little bit of an Ultimate Fighter rivalry with was Rashad Evans. He'll be defending the light heavyweight title against Lyoto Machida in the main event at UFC 98. What is your opinion of Rashad now?

Well, what I had a problem with on the show was not Rashad as a fighter. It was just his showboating and his antics in the ring. Outside the ring, Rashad and I get along fine, and we have ever since the show. Inside the ring, I'm just not the guy who dances around and does stuff like that. I don't have a problem with Rashad, but I'm not the type of guy to grab my crotch like he did (against Forrest Griffin). But as far as a fighter, he's doing great and I think he's got a tough fight coming up.

Your attitude is like the football coach who tells players, "Act like you've been there before" after scoring a touchdown.

Yeah. Exactly.

You've won 15 fights in the UFC, and the record is 16 by Chuck Liddell. What does it mean to you that you could be a win away from having the most wins ever in the Octagon?

To me it's not a big deal. I've never been that guy to chase the record books. Who's below me?

Tito Ortiz, with 14.

Oh. To me it's not a big deal. And if I get that record, it's just going to be a matter of time before someone breaks my record, so I'm not going to think about chasing records.

Do you think Liddell is done?

I don't think so. Chuck is still dangerous to anybody. Anybody that thinks that if Chuck Liddell hits them they won't go down is wrong. Chuck is a threat to anybody. As a friend I hope he doesn't leave the sport for two reasons: No. 1, I like him and I like watching him. No. 2, I still think he's good enough to do some serious damage to people.

I know you were critical on your web site of the main event at UFC 98. You weren't too impressed with Anderson Silva?

Well, I think Anderson has all the tools to be one of the most exciting fighters out there. Maybe he's just cautious or doesn't care what he looks like out there, I don't know, but he looked like he doesn't have that drive to finish people. I definitely think Anderson could have given it a little effort to try to finish the fight. I've never been one of those fighters who just tries to win a decision.

You've talked about maybe moving up to middleweight. Do you think there's any chance we'll see you fight Anderson Silva?

I don't know. Right now fighting Serra is all that's on my mind. I'm not even thinking about fighting Anderson Silva. He's not who I'm thinking about. As of right now, no thoughts of moving up to face Anderson.

If you beat Serra, how close do you think you are to a shot at the welterweight title against the winner of the Georges St. Pierre-Thiago Alves fight at UFC 100?

Well, if I beat Serra -- and I obviously think I will -- and Thiago wins I'd love to get a rematch with Thiago. I think that fight could have gone differently if my knee hadn't gone out, so I'd love to rematch Thiago. To be honest, I didn't like the way the last GSP fight went either, so I'd love to rematch GSP. But all I'm worrying about right now is Matt Serra. So where ever winning that fight puts me is fine, but I've just got Matt Serra on my mind right now.

One of the reasons I think you'd have a pretty good case for another shot at Thiago is that he didn't make weight when you guys fought. Does it bug you that he came in over the 170-pound welterweight limit?

It's something that I'm not used to. I've wrestled probably 1,000 matches and I've never not made weight. That type of stuff bugs me, but there are people come in two or three or four pounds over -- I forget how much he was over --

He weighed in at 174.

He really wasn't even close. That might bug me a little bit, but that comes with the territory.

Having fought both Thiago and Georges, what's your opinion of their upcoming fight? Who has the advantage?

I think GSP has the advantage. I think the striking will be pretty competitive, maybe Thiago will have an edge there, I don't know. The wrestling I think goes to GSP. I think he'll be able to take Thiago down, and I think the ground work will go to GSP as well. I think it could be a close fight or it could be someone getting knocked out in the first round. The fight could go either way. Sometimes two guys like that could have a great fight or sometimes it could be a stalemate. Let's hope it's not like that and let's hope both guys try to finish, and it's an exciting fight.

How much longer do you want to fight?

I've got a two-and-a-half-year-old girl and seven- and nine-year-old boys. I don't want to be fighting forever. I want to make sure my little girl knows who her dad is growing up. So my fights are numbered, but I could not tell you how many fights I'm going to have left.

Do you think about anything more that you need to accomplish in the sport in those remaining fights?

You know, I've never really had goals in this sport. I've always fought because I love competition. I love going in there and beating people. As long as my body will hold up, and I have that desire to go in and compete, I'll keep competing, but I never woke up from a deep sleep and said, "I need to be a world champion." I just love to compete, and I love to win. Love of competition is what drove me in the first place and what keeps me in there now.

Edited by neshev
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