Two names synonymous with UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes’ storied career, yet for vastly different reasons, are Pat Miletich and B.J. Penn. The first was an integral part in the former welterweight champ’s development as a fighter early on while the latter was Hughes’ longtime rival beating him two out of the three times they faced off.
However, as different as the roles Miletich and Penn have served in Hughes’ life may be, both played the same part for the 37-year old in recent weeks – training partner.
The two former UFC champs, who are helping Hughes ready himself for his fight this weekend at UFC 135, came up in Hughes’ latest ESPN blog where he wrote about what it had been like to work out with both and why he had brought them into his camp.
“It had been years since Pat and I had worked together, probably since I left the gym, which was right after the Ultimate Fighter 6 show in 2007,” Hughes began. “After that, me, Matt (Pena), Robbie (Lawler), and Marc Fiore – the coaches for my team – all came up with the gym concept. So it’s been that long for us, (though) Pat and I have always stayed in contact and he’s a brother of mine, there’s no doubt about that.”
“So it was great to get my hands on him and wrestle with him,” Hughes continued while adding that he wasn’t so thrilled with how effective Miletich’s handspeed and striking still were. “He’s got ferocious stand-up. He would not go three five-minute rounds, but he can have a decent five minute go, take a few minutes off, then go again later. It was great getting back in there with him.”
In regards to Baby Jay, Hughes explained the one-time adversary was living up to an agreement they’d made for a trip to Hawaii earlier this year where he assisted in Penn’s preparation for a February fight against Jon Fitch.
“He’s repaying the favor I did for him and I found out a lot about B.J. when I went out to Hawaii and started training with him. We are actually a lot alike personality wise, and sense of humor wise for sure. We have a ball together and I’ve got to watch out for him because he’s quick-witted.”
Hughes faces Josh Koscheck in co-headlining action this Saturday night in Denver. He is coming off a loss to Penn but had won three in a row prior to the defeat. Thus far in his remarkable run in MMA, Hughes has compiled an overall record of 45-8 with 35 stoppages.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: I’m not sure how much Penn/Miletich can teach Hughes that will help him against Koscheck given the AKA fighter’s style but it definitely never hurts to bring in world-class training partners and Penn/Miletich certainly fit that bill. Also, I can’t lie – I’m intrigued to know how the crowd will react at UFC 135 since Koscheck/Hughes aren’t exactly fan-favorites. That being said, I’m fairly certain Hughes will end up getting cheered based on his past accomplishments in the UFC since the audience will be forced to chose SOMEONE to root for.