Like the first round, they stood up for a moment. A late stand up led to a second takedown by Sherk. Sherk took Hughes down again in the fifth round, but the champion controlled the rest of the time sprawl-and-brawling as he finished on top. Penn via rear naked choke at of the first round,  in a fight he was heavily favored to win. Penn filed suit against UFC and publicized his side of the conflict, claiming his contract had expired. Penn filed a motion to stop UFC from awarding a new welterweight title, but that motion was denied. Hughes regained the vacant welterweight title by submitting Canadian contender Georges St-Pierre via armbar in the final second of the first round at UFC The War of ' Hughes took GSP down twice and landed a huge slam.
Hughes was in trouble at the beginning of the bout as St-Pierre unloaded a spinning back kick into his ribs. Pierre admitted afterward that he had lost before he ever stepped into the Octagon.
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He had regarded Hughes as his idol, not as someone he could beat. Hughes successfully retained his title against Trigg in their historic rematch at UFC Couture vs.
Liddell 2. The fight quickly went to the ground, with Trigg ground-and-pounding Hughes, then attempting a rear naked choke. After nearly two minutes of struggling, Hughes broke free, picked Trigg up, carried him across the Octagon and slammed him to the ground. Hughes then ground-and-pounded Trigg before securing the victory with a rear naked choke of his own, in what is considered one of the UFC's greatest fights.
After Parysian suffered a hamstring injury and could not fight,  Joe Riggs took his place. I'm not disappointed. It makes me a lot more relaxed to go in there. I don't have pressure of possibly losing my title. I think it's great news for me. I mean the only thing I don't like about it is it's a three-round fight and I've trained for five rounds. Hughes defeated Riggs in the first round by submission via kimura from the half-guard at At UFC Hughes vs.
Hughes stated that he felt his arm pop and realized he would never tap, so instead of breaking his arm, opted to seek a different position. It just seemed like I was a step ahead of him.
I was really surprised. I was [also] surprised by the strength difference, and especially when I was on the ground with him. Wherever I wanted his hand, I put it there. I really shouldn't be able to do that with somebody as talented as Royce. Penn would replace him in the title fight.
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In fact, it was Hughes' only loss in his last 19 fights. He was visibly different in the third round, appearing exhausted and missing punches he was landing earlier. Hughes was able to take Penn to the mat, and in side-control crucifix position rained punches on Penn's head until referee "Big" John McCarthy stopped the fight at of the third round.
St-Pierre stepped into the ring to promote his upcoming title fight against Hughes, stating that he was glad that Hughes won his fight, but that he was "not impressed" by Hughes' performance. Hughes said that they "had words" off-camera shortly thereafter. St-Pierre apologized, saying he had misunderstood something Hughes had said on the microphone and did not mean to offend him. St-Pierre then followed up with strikes on his stunned opponent. When it appeared that the fight would be stopped, the bell rang signaling the end of the first round.
In the second round St-Pierre ended the fight with a head kick which stunned Hughes and knocked him to the mat. He followed up with a flurry of punches and elbows that forced McCarthy to stop the contest with left in the round. On March 3, , Hughes returned to the Octagon for UFC Uprising ,  defeating Chris Lytle by unanimous decision, winning 30—27 on all three judges' scorecards.
Hughes opened the second round with a quick takedown, moving up to side-control and then landed an elbow that cut Lytle. Finally, Hughes mounted his opponent, but Lytle swept and was able to reverse that position.
In the third round, Hughes unsuccessfully tried an armbar again before the horn sounded. In , Hughes participated as a guest coach for long-time friend and training partner, Jens Pulver during The Ultimate Fighter 5 season. No excuses here. I came into this fight percent Georges is the better fighter. There's nothing more I can say about it. Hughes lost to Alves by TKO at of the second round.
After receiving a powerful flying knee, he dropped to the ground with his own left knee pinned behind his hips, ultimately leaving him with a torn MCL and partially torn PCL. Hughes took the fight on short notice as a favor to UFC. Alves failed to make weight for the match, but Hughes elected to fight him at a catch weight anyway. Thiago came in big, some people told me that he looked bigger than me in the octagon.
I didn't expect that but I also think that had nothing to do with the outcome of the fight. I think Thiago came up with a good game plan.
Immediately after the Alves fight, Hughes stated that he had "one more fight" left in him, and that he wanted to fight Matt Serra. Their rivalry stemmed from the time when Serra was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter and Hughes was guest coach. Serra did not like the way Hughes criticized other contestants on the show and was disgusted when Hughes constantly picked on Georges St-Pierre during a lunch break and bragged about his submission victory.
UFC confirmed the fight. Machida via unanimous decision. Despite this, Serra could not finish the fight and Hughes recovered rapidly. Hughes posted on his blog: "When the fight was over, I was pretty confident I was going to get my hand raised. Some people have asked why I raised his hand at the end. Actually I didn't, he raised mine. He also told me that, no matter what the decision was, he was done with the rivalry".
Hughes then signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC. Hughes started the second round with powerful leg kicks, but after that Gracie returned to his in-and-out punching style. Hughes got double underhooks and managed to take Gracie down briefly. With two minutes to go he knocked Gracie down with a leg kick. Gracie took all the time he could before Hughes helped him up and then dropped him with a second leg kick.
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Gracie stalled again, but when he finally stood up Hughes floored him with a punch, let him get up and then attacked again. Hughes knocked Gracie down again with a fourth punch, when referee Herb Dean ended it. I never thought about this, to be honest - I'm just a Midwest guy kinda living the dream. Shaking hands, signing autographs, being a world title holder and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, this is beyond what I ever would have pictured my life being.
Hughes now had four wins over mixed martial artists with ties to the Gracies, including UFC pioneer Royce Gracie, the prior mentioned Renzo Gracie and former champ Serra. It's an old-school wrestling move. I've been good at it. I'm happy to beat a good Brazilian with a wrestling move. Penn at the post-fight interview. Penn then connected with an overhand right that dropped Hughes, following up with three clean shots to the jaw. The fight marked the first time Hughes had been knocked out he had previously lost via technical knockout.
Post-fight Hughes hinted that the loss moved him one step closer to retirement. I had a lot on the line. This was a huge fight for me. To be honest, I don't know what goes on now. Hughes showed improved striking, but ultimately succumbed to Koscheck's power punches. I'm not retiring.