Frank Trigg and Matt Hughes enter the UFC Hall of Fame in the “fights” wing later this week as a result of their 2005 rematch in which Hughes escaped a rear-naked choke only to submit Trigg with the maneuver after dramatically body-slamming him. But neither man pointed to the bout that UFC President Dana White calls the best ever as his best ever.
“My fight with Matt [Hughes], I came in the best shape and the best mental state,” Frank Trigg told Breitbart Sports. But the result just didn’t go his way, so he pointed to his 2003 fight against Renato Verissimo as Frank Trigg at his peak. Trigg says he “almost blacked out by his triangle.” But his ability to remain composed to come back and elbow the Brazilian to a stoppage appears to Trigg as a career high point.
“I would say BJ Penn—my fight when I beat BJ,” Matt Hughes explained to Breitbart Sports about his 2006 stoppage of his fellow Hall of Famer. “BJ had me in a bad way in the first couple of rounds,” he conceded. But his resiliency, like Trigg’s against Verissimo, enabled him to come away with his hands raised, avenging an earlier loss to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and boxer.
Bas Rutten cited “revenge” in naming his 1996 rematch with Masakatsu Funaki as the pinnacle of his career. “The rematch against Funaki—it’s a fun fight to watch,” Rutten told Breitbart Sports. “He keeps on coming and I keep on knocking him down.”
Flight problems kept BJ Penn off the conference call. Lori Blatnick, widow of former UFC rules guru Jeff Blatnick, naturally pointed to Blatnick’s Greco-Roman wrestling victory at the 1984 Olympics as his peak moment. “He was thrilled with the 1980 team,” she noted, but geopolitical events prevented him from obtaining gold then.
Elsewhere on the conference call, the inductees weighed in on others they think deserving of entry into the Hall of Fame. “I think Frank Shamrock, Don Frye,” Bas Rutten opined. “Why Don Frye and Frank Shamrock aren’t in?” Frank Trigg asked. “It doesn’t make sense to me.” Trigg volunteered the name of referee John McCarthy, too. “I do think a modern-era fighter should be retired,” Matt Hughes offered. “It put a lot of pressure on me when they put me in [the Hall of Fame as a fighter] in 2010 and I still had fights to go.”
This Saturday, the UFC inducts into its Hall of Fame Bas Rutten in its pioneer-era category, BJ Penn in its modern-era section, Frank Trigg and Matt Hughes in its fights wing, and Jeff Blatnick as a contributor.