Fall River - Aaron Hughes MMA professional steps into Cagetitans competition once again, as he settles a long standing verbal joust with Jake Hixenbaugh on Saturday January 27th at the Plymouth Memorial Hall. Hughes enters the bout with a 4-4 record as a professional and boasts a dozen amatuer fights under his belt. With experience on his side, Hughes is confident entering the fight telling the Combat Sports Report: "I have no idea what goes through this kid's head, he isn't anywhere near my level". We sit down with "Short Fuse" after a training session to find out how this grudge match came to be, his training camp, and how he has maintained a career of over 8 years.
Q: There has been a lot of back and forth and call outs between you and Jake. From your point of view how did this whole incident start? What is the full story?
A: The beef between me and Jake started after we fought in May. I had no animosity before the fight. At weigh ins, after we faced off he said "I'm going to snipe you tomorrow!" I was like "Ok, that was kind of weird." During the first round, I jumped for a guillotine, didn't get it, ended up on my back. I cut an angle and started throwing elbows. Some of them definitely hit him to the back of the head, but some of them were also definitely legal. It's my fault for not being more cautious in the moment, but... People have to understand that it's a fight. A fight is chaos. When you're in a fight it's not like "I'll just take my time." its more like "Oh S***! I just hurt him. I'm just going to keep going and going and going."
His team trashed me all over social media. They were saying that I was a cheater. I hit him to the back of the head on purpose. Bro, I have 30 fights and not once have I had a foul. Not once have I ever kicked somebody in the cup. Not once have I ever poked someone in the eye. And! I've fought a lot more dangerous people than Jake. So why would I be looking for the easy way out against an opponent that I personally think I'm levels above?
I asked for the fight multiple times. Multiple times. Never heard anything back. So I messaged him on Instagram and he read my message but didn't reply. Then I won my fight in July and called him out. I said "You're a f****** p****! You and your whole team can get it too. It's on sight."
He sees the interview and then messages me and says "Oh I didn't see your message." It's Instagram bro, it says you saw my message. You know? So in my opinion the beef started not because of him so much, but his team and managers bashing me all over social media. It happened, I hit him in the back of the head in the fight but I didn't f****** do it on purpose.
The fact that they were trying to get it over turned to a no contest to a win is just like...like... Bro, what type of competitor are you? Why would you ever want to win a fight like that? If I go out there and get kneed while I'm downed like #AljamainSterling, I don't want to win like that. Unless I'm fighting for a world title. You know, once a champion, always a champion but it's a local fight. Who wants to win like that? That's how it all started.
Aaron Hughes MMA
Q: Talk to me a little about your camp. You've spent some time in Albuquerque with Jackson Wink MMA, your home gym is Regiment Training Center, how do you manage the two?
A: The last time I fought Jake, I spent 2 weeks in Albuquerque. Which was last May, but I haven't been out there since. Right now, I'm mostly just training at #RegimentTrainingCenter, I get some work in at #LauzonMMA, and I go to #BrazilianTopTeamTaunton when I can. Sometimes I go up to #NECartel, but it's been hard to get up there lately with the holidays. Mostly, just Regiment Training Center and Lauzon MMA going into this one.
Q: Alot of regional fighters in New England end up getting demanding jobs, or having a family pull them away from MMA. Meanwhile you have been an active competitor for the better part of 10 years. What do you credit your longevity to?
A: I just want to be in the UFC so f****** bad. I've ruined relationships. I quit my full time job. Nothing else makes me happier than the sport of MMA. It's the only thing I enjoy doing these days. I know I have the skills to be in the UFC. I've proven it to myself, many times in the gym. I've dominated people sparring, grappling, I know how f****** good I am. I just want the chance to be able to show it on the big stage. UFC, PFL, ONE Championship, I know I have the skills to hang with those guys. I spar with high level guys all the time.
I don't want to work a 9-5 job ever. I work part time now, but I don't want that life. I want to open my own gym, I want to be in the UFC and I want to be a staple in the UFC. I don't just want to get to the UFC, go 0-2, get cut, and then never get back. I want to get to the UFC, I want to stay there, and I want to make alot of money. But, at the same time, I'm also 29 years old. The UFC isn't looking to sign a guy who is 33, 34, or 35 years old so I'm hustling trying to get there now. I'm realistic with my goals, but I'm also kind of delusional to the point where nothing else matters to me but this. Even my girlfriend sometimes, she'll say "You're always at the gym." and I'll say "Do you want to work for the rest of your life? If I get to the UFC you're going to be a stay at home dog mom."
Q: With a win in January and then maybe another 2 more, you're right in the conversation for a fight on the Contender Series or PFL. Is there something you would really like to accomplish on the regional level before you get the call to a larger organization?
A: I would love to win a pro title honestly. I had 3 amateur title fights, lost all 3 of them. 2 decisions and I had a Muay Thai title fight I took on like 36 hours notice, lost that one. They're all fights that I know I could win. I know how good I am in the gym and I know the level of people that I hang with. If you've trained with me in the gym, you know how good I am. If you've just watched me fight you've only seen maybe 40% of my actual skill. I want to win a title so bad. I want to go 5-0 in 2024. I applied to get on The Ultimate Fighter, so that is something I'd really like to do. I feel like it's kind of a long shot but that could be a life changing opportunity for me. I have a couple teammates who were on TUF and they came back completely different fighters. I feel like that would be a life changing opportunity but my main goals are: beat Jake, beat his coach, and win a pro title.
Q: As I just said, you've been competing for years now. What makes a promotion great in your opinion? From a fighter's perspective what do you look for from the organization you chose to fight for?
A: I fought for pretty much every promotion in the area with exception of Combat FC and Combat Zone. I look for how they treat fighters. Which is why I love Cagetitans so much. I'm huge on how Mike (Polvere) treats everyone. He treats the out of town guys the same as the local guys. I'm a hometown guy, a hometown favorite I fought Kris Berberich who flew in from Alaska and he still gets treated the same as me. The venue, because there is nothing like fighting in Plymouth Memorial Hall. The energy and the way the cage is set up, it's like you're fighting in a colosseum. Communication between between the promoter and the fighter. Match ups too. Alot of promoters are just scumbags, they just want to use you as a feeder fish and feed you, feed you, feed you. I'm not here to be a feeder, I'm here to do the eating. Match-ups, venue, the way the fighters are treated and just good fights. I'd much rather fight for Mike knowing I'm going to be treated right over going somewhere else and make a little more money but being treated like s***. I will say, I've made more money fighting for #Cagetitans than anywhere else.
Q: That's all I have for you but we have a few fan Questions. These are not my words! I'm just the messenger are you ready?
Q: @DivinoJuniorMMA asks: What are your expectations for your next fight? I'll be rooting for you here in Brazil brother!
A: I expect domination. There's a famous quote I like: "Sometimes you just gotta jump and be free." I'm at my best when I'm free. I take my time, I'm calm, I wont enter into the chaos. I plan on being in there for the entire 15 minutes. I want to be in there for there for 15 minutes. I don't want a quick finish. I want to go out there, have a battle and showcase all my skills and show I'm better than this kid. If the finish comes I'll take it but I'm looking forward to going in there and breaking this kid mentally and physically.
Q: @Gage.Earle asks: What round do you see Jake "d*ck-n-b*lls" giving up again?
A: That is a training partner of mine. I've got so many nick names for this guy. Jake from State Farm. Jake D*cknb*alls. Jixnballs, Jake the Hick, I got so many different nick names for hims ::Hughes laughs:: I'm planning for the full 15. I've only gone the full 15 as a pro once and I lost a decision. I want to go the full 15 and get a win, but if he is going to break it's going to be in the second round.
Q: Whelp that's a wrap. Is there anything you'd like to tell the fans heading into this fight? Any shout outs? The floor is yours.
A: Shout out to my team, I've been with them forever Regiment Training Center. Shout out to my coach Brian Raposo, Thomas Teixeria, Ryan Lavoie. Shout out Lauzon MMA. Shout out to all my sponsors. Shout out to my family, my girlfriend, and everyone in my corner for all their support. Thank you for having me on the show.