Class of 2008
One can’t help but wonder what Hillsboro’s Dave Ball, Lincoln College’s Dave Klemm and Eastern Illinois’ Ralph McCausland thought when Matt Hughes joined their wrestling programs. By all measures Matt Hughes is both an accomplished athlete as well as a fierce competitor. Matt wrestled at Hillsboro four years under Dave Ball. He won 136 of the 145 matches he competed in – he posted back-to-back undefeated seasons his junior and senior seasons. In the process Matt earned two individual State Titles and was named a High School All-American. As a sidebar, Matt also played football for four years; the last two of which he was named All-Conference.
The next level of competition took Matt to the ranks of Junior College. First it was to Belleville Area Junior College where Matt earned All-American honors by placing 5th at 158 lbs. For his sophomore year Matt transferred to Lincoln College and the under the careful guidance of Dave Klemm Matt once again earned All-American honors – this time with a 3rd place finish.
Eastern Illinois and Ralph McCausland were Matt’s next competitive destination. Wrestling at 158 lbs. Matt once again joined the All-American ranks by placing 5th in the 1996 Division I Wrestling Championships in Minnesota. The following year, in typical Hughes fashion, Matt improved upon his previous accomplishment by placing 5th and for the fifth consecutive year earned All-American status. Matt completed his career at Eastern Illinois with an 80-15 record.
Still harboring the competitive drive, Matt sought out the realm of Ultimate Fighting. He won his first UFC in November of 2001 in spectacular fashion. Ultimately Matt Hughes would go on to become UFC World Champion and also to defend that title four times. In 2004 Matt Hughes was voted, pound for pound, the best fighter in the world. He has published his autobiography entitled: Made in America: The Most Dominant Champion in UFC History.