Thomas Hughes (at left with teammate Jarrett Kelton) is making his professional MMA debut Friday, Sept. 12 in Ogden as part of the Jeremy Horn's Elite Fight Night card during the Weber County Fair. Although Hughes has a 3-0 amateur MMA record, he's better known as a kick, who, along with Kelton, is a member of the U.S. kickboxing team. He's a national champ and has fought internationally.
I had the opportunity to chat with Thomas:
1) What was the motivator to turn pro? And while it's an MMA fight is your primary goal to compete in kickboxing?
Hughes: I've been trying to get a fight since January with SteelFist and they've not been able so get me an opponent and when Jen (of Horn's Elite) called me -- she had two people pull out from fighting me as well -- ... I knew I had to turn pro or else I wouldn't get a fight!
2) What do you know about your opponent, Marcel McCain (6-0 amateur). Is there any specific training for him?
Hughes: All I know is he holds a few belts and is undefeated! That doesn't intimidate me at all. My game plan and training is pretty simple; work hard and go for the finish!
3) Where are you training and with whom? I assume Jarrett and others are helping? What's the daily routine?
Hughes: I've been working at One Hit MMA for striking, Blackout (gym) with Lucus Montoya and a lot of phenomenal grapplers, and also down at Mori Training Center (in Ogden) with guys like Ryder Campo.
4) After this bout, what's on tap long-term?
Hughes: I'm making my run to the UFC. Within 2018 I'll have a contract in the UFC. I'm actually looking to transition and move down to Vegas in the coming weeks with my family after the fight!
5) So you are moving toward UFC rather than Glory or Bellator Kickboxing? Where will you train in Las Vegas?
Hughes: I've got a few connection at Xtreme Couture and syndicate so I'm going to pray about it to know for sure! Yes I'm going full toward UFC and leaving the kickboxing behind.
Hughes certainly has the talent to move up in MMA and he swish him well in his pro debut and future.
NEXT WEEK we will be interviewing some fighters from The Pack at Foley's gym in Ogden who will be competing in amateur bouts at the Horn's Elite card, including veteran Eric Munoz.
ALSO, just a reminder that The Garage's amateur Bryce Edminister is fighting in Boise, Idaho, at the Front Street Fights MMA card at the Century Link Arena. His opponent will be Kellen VanCamp. We'll try to chat with Bryce in a couple of weeks.
SOME AMATEUR BOXING: Last weekend there was a Legends amateur boxing card in SLC. Some All Heart gym fighters competed. Kam Santiago of All Heart defeated Jose Hernandez of Louie's gym. Edgar Taracena of All Heart was defeated, do not have his opponent's name.