Matt Hughes Continues Recovery; Friend Posts Video of Ex-UFC Champ Grappling

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 22, 2017

Matt Hughes continues to show remarkable improvement after being involved in a serious accident approximately two months ago.

Hughes’ personal friend, Tony Zucca, recently posted a video on Instagram of the former UFC welterweight champion grappling, calling the footage “unbelievable.” Hughes was hospitalized after the passenger side of the vehicle he was driving was hit by a train while crossing railroad tracks in Raymond, Ill., on June 16. According to Illinois State Police, Hughes drove his vehicle across the tracks “directly in front of the train.” He was then airlifted to HSHS St. John’s hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator and his condition was described as stable but “minimally responsive.” Hughes’ family then posted updates on June 26 and July 4, the last of which stated that the former UFC star was showing “small signs of improvement.”

Last week, however, Zucca revealed that he took Hughes out of the hospital on a “jail break” for sushi and that “his progress was nothing short of a miracle.” Things have improved even more since then, as evidenced by video of Zucca and Hughes on the mats.

“I leave for only five days and come back to his ass wanting [and able] to roll! Unbelievable! Spare me the grappling lessons. The only things that are important: firing muscles that haven't been used in a long time...and having fun! So awesome to see that smile and hear that laugh again,” Zucca wrote. “If I posted a video from day one and compared it to today...and you still didn't believe in miracles...well, there's nothing that's ever going to change your mind.”

Hughes compiled a 45-9 record over the course of his UFC career and was twice the Las Vegas-based promotion’s welterweight champion. The Hall of Famer earned victories over the likes of Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Royce Gracie, Matt Serra, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg and Hayato Sakurai, to name a few. He last competed at UFC 135 in September 2011, suffering a first-round knockout loss to Josh Koscheck.

Hughes was hired as the UFC’s Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations after his retirement but was let go when parent company Zuffa sold the UFC to WME-IMG last summer.


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