In 2015, the April 16, 2005 rematch between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg was given its rightful place in the Fight wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. More than 15 years after that unforgettable battle, we look back at what the two combatants told me in 2015 about the co-main event of UFC 52.
Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg had plenty of bad blood before both their bouts, but before the second one at UFC 52 on April 16, 2005, they had a little help from UFC television director Anthony Giordano.
“Anthony Giordano would do the interviews back then, and he was very good,” Hughes recalls with a laugh. “He would go to my opponent and talk to them first and would always come back to me and say Frank said this or Joe said that, and he would get some heat out of me. If he interviewed me first, he just didn’t have anything to go off of, so he was smart. And I remember Giordano saying, ‘Hey, he (Trigg) said the first fight was a fluke and he’s training harder this time, and he’s got a better wrestling pedigree.’ He was bringing stuff out of the blue and I would get heated. I knew when Anthony showed up, I would say, ‘Keep your cool, keep your cool,’ (Laughs) but he was good. He got under my skin and he got the sound bites he needed.”
Hughes, in his second reign as champion, always stepped up when asked, and if it was Trigg that the UFC wanted, that’s what they would get. As for the Rochester, New York native, his sole purpose for being in the Octagon was to get that belt, and after losing to Hughes the first time, the intensity of his desire to get payback grew hotter.
“We were hoping (for a rematch) and I was talking my way into it at the same time,” Trigg said. “Beating (Dennis) Hallman a second time helped a little bit because he already beat Matt twice. Beating (Renato) Verissimo helped because that was a controversial win for Matt. It went to a decision and people really thought that Verissimo had won. And I beat him decisively. So I thought now maybe I’ll get a shot back again. It really was a thing of me kind of talking my way into it and not giving them any other option.”
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