Matt Hughes: The meaning of 100 - Sports Illustrated

Matt Hughes: The meaning of 100

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Prior to UFC 100, had the chance to speak with many of the promotion's elite fighters -- past and present. Here's what Matt Hughes had to say about Saturday's card, his career in the cage and much more.

My first fight in the UFC was UFC 22. Back then I would never have imagined that I'd see UFC 100.

Not only did I never expect to see UFC 100, I certainly never thought I'd be around in the UFC for it.

I've got a hunt planned, so I won't be attending 100, but I'll definitely be watching it through the TV.

Brock and I are good friends. It's an interesting fight, because Frank has really improved over the last year or so.

Brock obviously deserved the title shot because he beat the champion. If he had gotten annihilated, people could say he didn't deserve a title shot, but he won. You can't say he doesn't deserve a title shot after he knocks out Randy Couture.

G.S.P. is going to have too much experience for Alves. Being the better wrestler, I think he'll be able to get the fight to the ground when he needs to. But I don't think Thiago can't win.

The public has come around more, and that's great because there's a lot less criticism of the sport. But we're still not mainstream, like NASCAR is, or the NFL. There's still work to be done.

If more people just watch it, they'll understand that it's actually a chess match out there and not just two untrained guys competing.

When I look back, what I'm most proud of is how I've conducted myself. I've got a family friendly website, I think I conduct myself where parents can let their kids watch me, as opposed to some other guys who cuss a lot or just act inappropriate. That's what I'm proud of the most.

My rematch with B.J. Penn, beating someone who took the title from me, that was the best moment for me in the Octagon.

I thought the fight would get stopped before it did. But I was really excited, there's no doubt about it. It took a little bit to let it sink in that I just beat the guy who took my title before.

Pat Miletich. That's the guy I really looked up to at the beginning of my career and tried to emulate. Also, Randy Couture has always been a great guy who I've looked up to. He always thinks about things before they come out of his mouth. I've always felt like, if Randy said it or did it, I could allow myself to do the same thing.

I won the world title in November, but earlier in that year I had two losses -- both of them right in a row -- and that was tough for me. I just about gave up the sport.

A manager can really help you out a lot, and I didn't realize that early in my career.

A lot of the young guys need to realize that it takes time to make the big money and to get where some of the guys who've been in this sport a long time are at. Some of them are a little greedy and they don't realize that it doesn't happen overnight.

It takes time.