UFC hall of famers Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes have openly courted the idea of coming out of retirement in recent days and, should there be a conversation to be had as to under what banner any potential future fights might take place under, Bellator president Scott Coker is happy to have it.
Both Liddell and Hughes were let go from backroom positions in the UFC organisation last December after several years of service and now, some five months later, the pair seem interested in investigating the possibility of a comeback. In most cases such as this when a fighter decides to come out of retirement, the UFC will automatically regain that fighter’s promotional rights unless a deal is struck to mutually dissolve that aspect of the agreement to allow the fighter in question to sign a deal with a third party promotion.
Bellator would seem the most likely destination for the pair should it actually come about and, speaking at the media day to promote the upcoming Bellator London card, Scott Coker said he would welcome speaking to both Liddell and Hughes regarding their futures but no moves have been made as of yet.
“At some point, I’m sure we’ll talk, and we’ll just hear each other out and see if there’s anything to be done, ” Coker said. “But really, it hasn’t been on our radar just yet.”
Paul Daley, who fights Rory MacDonald in the London card’s main event on May 19th, added that he would welcome Hughes into his divisions and would relish the opportunity to face him.
“Matt Hughes was a consistently dominant champion,” Daley said. “So, yeah, it would be great to have two legends back in the sport, in particular Matt Hughes. He’s in my division, and it would be great to get in there and fight against a legend. So it would be great to have them both back, and even better if they come to Bellator.”
MacDonald too added his voice to the speculation, saying that Bellator has a good record of promoting “legendary fighters”.
“I think Bellator’s done a fantastic job of bringing these legendary fighters and matching them up against each other, ” he said. “It’s good for those legendary fighters to come in and stay busy and do what they love without having to go against the young and dangerous guys. So I like it, the fans like it, and it really works. I would always like to see more of the old-school guys coming back to Bellator for good fights.”