A month ago, I made a list on my greatest MMA fighters of all time (check that out here). On said list, I had Georges St-Pierre third and Matt Hughes as an honourable mention tenth. I mentioned that there’s a small selection of fans that think Hughes was better in the welterweight division than GSP. These fans believed that because Matt fought nearly double the amount of times GSP fought (54 to 28), in a two year shorter career (13 to 15) Hughes was more likely to lose as his strong chin, as he had taken more damage due to fighting more, causing him to lose more often as he fought more often.
As much as that point does make a bit of sense, it’s pretty baseless in my opinion. Firstly, GSP had a four year layoff between his last two fights, meaning that his career was technically eleven years as an ‘active fighter.’ Even though Hughes still fights more often a year with that taken into account, it takes away the exaggeration of that point.
Secondly, when Hughes beat GSP back in 2004, GSP was only 23. In MMA terms, a baby. GSP was inexperienced and I think he had the awareness to know how much time was left in the round, he wouldn’t have instantly tapped to the armbar at the end of round one. I still think Hughes would’ve won that first fight, but I mainly blame the manner of the loss to inexperience, instead of fighter quality. To coincide with this point, Hughes was in his prime at this point. He was 31 years old and barring a loss to BJ Penn, was in the form of his life.
Also, GSP avenged the loss against Hughes by beating him twice, once via a beautiful left head kick and the second time by an armbar and in both fights he was the better man, and proved he was a better all round fighter than Hughes.
Another argument I’ve heard is about finishing rates. Hughes has a 78% finish rate (35 of 45) compared to the 54% (14 of 26) of GSP. Which is a fair point. If I was to compare GSP’s finish rate with the rest of my top five in my list, it would be considerably less than Jones, Khabib, Silva and Fedor, however, unlike Hughes, GSP had tough opposition his whole career. I know you can only beat who’s in front of you, but this has to be a factor if the point of finishing fights is brought up.
Both Hughes and GSP are excellent fighters. Both in my top ten of all time. However, I just can’t believe that people can believe Hughes is better than GSP and I think the points brought up by the people that side with Hughes can be easily countered.