Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg fought on one previous occasion. It was at UFC 45, where the former won courtesy of a first-round rear-naked choke. Almost 2 years later they were booked to face each other again at UFC 52.
This fight went down in history, becoming the second match finding a place at the UFC Hall of Fame’s Fight Wing. At the time of the induction, Dana White said, “I’ve said it a million times over the last ten years, Hughes vs Trigg II is one of my favorite fights ever. In four minutes and five seconds, it showed everything that is great about the UFC.”
Trigg had Hughes down in the first minute. He fell victim to a shot below the belt. However, the referee did not stop the fight. In no way can the challenger be blamed here. Fighters are supposed to go on, unless they are stopped. It is a lesson Anderson Silva learned the hard way as he stopped after nailing Michael Bisping with a vicious knee.
At the two-minute mark, Joe Rogan remarked that Hughes would have to tap. His face was going red with a lack of oxygen. A split second later he broke free. What followed is the stuff of legends. The moment will remain etched in fans’ memories forever.
Hughes lifted the challenger, ran across the Octagon, and slammed him onto the mat. He didn’t let go and used the momentum to his advantage. The reigning champion made the most of his dominant position and unleashed a brutal ground and pound over Trigg who was feebly trying to deflect the blows.
A few seconds later he turned and presented the reigning champion an opportunity to apply the rear-naked choke. He turned yet again but wasn’t let go as Hughes continued to land huge elbows on his skull. Later, he locked in the same submission yet again and got his opponent to tap. The win saw him retain the UFC Welterweight Title.
Watching this fight helps one understands Dana White’s reasoning behind it, showcasing what the UFC is about. It features determination, overcoming adversity and sheer strength. All of this created a wow factor as Hughes showed great character to come back from the brink of defeat and record a monumental win.
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