During the early 2000s, the UFC was still a very new product that was continuing to develop with each new event. At the time, there was a small sample size of stars. At light heavyweight, there was a reigning king in “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz. Meanwhile, at welterweight, Matt Hughes was busy leaving his mark.
Heading into 2003, Hughes was repping an ultra-impressive record of 33-3 with three UFC title defenses already under his belt. All of which he was able to end via TKO.
Matt Hughes was known for his incredible wrestling abilities but at the time another strong wrestler was working their way up the ladder. That man was none other than Minnesota’s “Muscle Shark”, Sean Sherk who was an unbeaten 19-0-1 heading into their bout.
Sherk ended up being the only to go the distance with Hughes in the Hall of Famer’s 11 career fights that saw titles on the line. It was as good of a wrestler vs. wrestler clash as one could have asked for back in the day and we got to see it as the UFC 42 main event. But did the right man win? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
This is First Fight View with Drake Riggs. The video series where we go back and watch some of MMA’s most controversial decisions … for the very first time! I will be watching the fights in their entirety and providing commentary throughout as I score the rounds as they happen. And although the majority of these bouts will likely be under the old version of the unified rules of MMA, scores under both sets of the new and old will be tallied to maximize perspective. The global ruleset is also thrown in just for a little bit of extra fun.
Check it out in the full video above.
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrakeRiggs where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.