Matt Hughes fighting like it’s fun again

E. Spencer Kyte of writes that if Matt Hughes seems like he’s enjoying himself these days, it’s because he is. And the former welterweight champion plans on having fun against B.J. Penn on Saturday day at UFC 123.

There is a point in the careers of many elite athletes where their once dominant skills start to erode, the twinkle in their eye turns into a glossy stare as they go through the motions.

Somewhere along the way, the Jim Gray du jour sits across from them, softly and earnestly asking what caused the decline, often eliciting the same response: “It stopped being fun” or some variation on that sentiment.

Sitting on the sidelines, far away from the daily grind of being a professional athlete, many wonder how such a thing could be possible, ready and willing to trade our daily routine with those of our athletic idols at any moment. But every job gets stale after enough time, and being a professional athlete is no different.

At that point, there are only a handful of options: riding things out, continuing to collect a paycheck is the path many take, while some decide enough is enough and opt for retirement. A small percentage choose the path Matt Hughes has decided to follow, accepting that his glory days are gone and getting back to having fun inside the cage.

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