“Ultimate Matt Hughes” DVD Review

Matt Hughes ruled the UFC’s 170-pound weight class with an iron first over two title reigns that included victories over Georges St-Pierre, BJ Penn, Royce Gracie, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, and Carlos Newton. Now you can relive all of his greatest moments in the Ultimate Matt Hughes DVD collection. From the knockout slam of Newton that began his rule of the division, to the rematch with Trigg that many believe is the greatest mixed martial arts fight ever, and everything in between, “Ultimate Matt Hughes” is meant to be the definitive chronicle of Hughes’ Hall of Fame career, but is it?

Anchor Bay has been putting out some good UFC compilation DVD sets this year, including their “Ultimate Royce Gracie” two-disc set and their “Bad Blood: Liddell VS Ortiz“, and are hoping to go three for three with this set. Matt Hughes is one of those polarizing fighters that fans either love or hate, and some love to hate, but his story is one that harkens back to the early days of MMA, and especially into the “dark ages” of the UFC. Does this DVD set do the story of Hughes justice, or is this one best left slammed into a bargain bin at Wal-Mart?

Hit the jump for the full review of the “Ultimate Matt Hughes” DVD!

With a complete title of “UFC: Ultimate Matt Hughes”, you can infer what you are getting right off the bat with this item. In my mind, the DVD should be renamed to “Matt Hughes: Legacy”, since Hughes has been the most dominant force in the UFC welterweight division since he first set foot into the octagon. Disc one has the 100-minute long documentary about Hughes taking us from birth all the way through to his rubber match against BJ Penn at UFC 123, along with three of his early fights, while the second disc contains twelve of Matt Hughes’ fights, including his bouts versus Frank Trigg, Matt Serra, Sean Sherk, and Georges St. Pierre, and ending with his fight at UFC 117 against Ricardo Almeida. An additional bonus feature is included, Matt Hughes induction into the UFC Hall of Fame. The total run time is around 320 minutes between the documentary, the induction, and fifteen fights inside the octagon.

Identical to the layout of the “Ultimate Royce Gracie” DVD, the front of this set has a striking image of Hughes with his fists up, a shiny golden hue behind him. I really like the look and color of this DVD set, and it really says champion when I look at it. The case opens up like a book and reveals a booklet filled with photos, statistics, and interviews with the former UFC welterweight champ. Past that are the two disc holders, which are thick glossy sleeves with all of the content listed on them. The case is sturdy and stylish and will stand out in your DVD collection, while also not taking up an obscene amount of space on your shelf. The booklet that comes with the set is attached to the case itself, so no luck if you want to remove it, unless you don’t mind seriously damaging it. The discs themselves are snug and protected in their sleeves, and full of some high-quality action that we need to dive into it.

The opening chords of “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams jr. begin to play as we first see Matt Hughes walk on-screen and into a gym. This is the opening for the full-length documentary on Hughes, and is a great retrospective on his life and his UFC career. Starting with his debut at UFC 22 and going as far as UFC 123 (as mentioned earlier), the documentary has interviews with many of his opponents including Frank Trigg, Matt Serra, GSP, and BJ Penn, as well as some time with coach Pat Miletich and Dana White. Obviously, any of his fights outside the UFC are not mentioned in great detail, but we do get to see some clips from his first MMA fight ever which is a rarity unto itself.

The documentary is well-produced with behind-the-scenes footage that has not been seen before, and gives us commentary about the defining moments of Hughes’ career. Fans of Hughes will enjoy the old videos of him during his high school and collegiate wrestling career, which also features Matt’s twin brother, Mark. Many questions are answered, and if not answered at least addressed, about certain events in Matt’s life and fights, including the nut-shots he suffered at the feet of GSP and Trigg, and the headbutt/ punch to the back of the head controversy in his fight against Matt Serra..

The bonus features are mainly fights that Hughes has won in the octagon. If you were hoping to see his few losses to GSP, Penn and Dennis Hallman, look somewhere else. The documentary covers them sufficiently, so the bonus fights feature his victories, some from UFC events that have yet to be released on DVD and probably never will (from the SEG UFC days). It’s always great reliving so many spectacular fights form Hughes storied career, including the powerbomb against Carlos Newton at UFC 34, his win over GSP at UFC 50, the end of the feud against Matt Serra at UFC 98, and the dramatic come-behind victory over Frank Trigg from their rematch at UFC 52, which Dana White called his favorite fight ever. It’s really this compilation of fights that makes this DVD set so great, as Hughes was part of some very memorable fights with amazing highlight-reel moments. These fights will remind you why Hughes was such a force in welterweight division for so long, and also bring back some great feelings of nostalgia with the early Zuffa fights.

If I could make one complaint, it would be that there is no commentary option for the fights. Granted, nearly all of Hughes’ fights in the UFC are discussed in the documentary, but I find myself yearning to hear more about the flow of the match from Hughes in real-time. This was the same complaint I had with the Royce Gracie set as well, but I will admit that the fights are talked about in much more detail here than in that set, so it really is a minor nitpick. I would have liked to have watched the losses in his career too, but I guess it was not too necessary and I can pick up the event DVD’s if I really want to watch Hughes get beaten up by GSP and BJ Penn. Overall, not much to complain about even when I try to find something, and ultimately at the price that this set is being sold at, you are absolutely getting a good deal.

You can order the “Ultimate Matt Hughes” DVD from Amazon.com for under $20 right now, and it is totally worth it! Anchor Bay took a formula that worked from their previous DVD sets and improved upon it from their last compilation set with a better documentary, better bonus content and higher production value. Buy this DVD for the fights alone and you will not be disappointed, even if you are not a fan of Hughes’ attitude. Pick up this retrospective of one of the most important fighters in the history of the UFC and the rest of the MMA world today and relive some great MMA memories!

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