Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour contained some heartening news about the condition of former UFC welterweight champion and Hall of Famer Matt Hughes.
Hughes was airlifted to a Springfield, Illinois hospital last month after the passenger side of the truck he was driving was hit by a train as he attempted to cross a railroad grade crossing near a town called Raymond in rural Illinois. There he has remained ever since.
In recent weeks there were some positive updates about his condition, with his sister confirming that the 43-year-old had been taken off the ventilator at the start of July. But indications were that he remained in a coma.
However, according to Hughes’ longtime coach, another former UFC welterweight champion and Hall of Famer, Pat Miletich, Hughes is now awake.
“He is surprising the doctors,” Miletich told The MMA Hour host, Ariel Helwani. “He’s making great leaps and he’s no longer in a coma, and he’s improving. It’s going to be a long road. Any type of head trauma at that level, there’s going to be some rehab.”
“I’m 100 percent sure he’s going to make a full recovery,” he added later.
Hughes reigned as UFC welterweight champion from November of 2001 to January of 2004, and again from October to 2004 to November of 2006, making seven successful defences of the title in total. He hasn’t fought since a stoppage loss to Josh Koscheck in September of 2011, but prior to his accident Hughes had talked about a possible return to the cage.