Bellator’s New Talent: 20-Year-Old Ethan Hughes

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Bellator 271 did not disappoint with some stunning finishes from some of the promotion’s hottest talents. Ethan Hughes opened the card in style, as he put everything on the line to get the finish he so desperately wanted in the final moments of his fight against Mahmoud Sebie.

MMA Sucka had the pleasure of speaking with Hughes after his third-round TKO.

Debut Delight

His promotional debut ended just the way he imagined, with Hughes succeeding in getting the finish with under a minute left in the final round. Hughes has had the time to watch his fight back and overall, he was pleased with his promotional debut.

“Yes, I have watched it back and I felt a lot better how I did in the fight after being able to watch it back. I felt pretty nervous and when you’re in the fight, time kinda feels different. So after being able to watch it back, I felt pretty good about how I responded to things during the fight,” Hughes told MMASucka. 

It was an extremely close first round, with Hughes starting to control the fight from the second, with his powerful striking hurting Sebie on several occasions. It was Hughes’ third fight of the year after he started professionally in February, and he has been sharpening his skills day in, day out.

“I have been just working on all aspects of my MMA and I am definitely much more comfortable with the grappling. I have been trying to improve my striking, but I have particularly been working on the benefits of working in kicks in my overall game. So really just training to get better all the way around.”

Hughes displayed his grit and determination in the final round, showing how desperate he was to finish that fight. He believed in his ability, knowing he had faced tougher challenges before.

“I felt I had it in the first round when I sunk in that armbar, and I know that it was pretty close, but anytime in a fight, I feel that if I can get to a dominant position on the ground, that is where I am comfortable and where I know I can finish it quickly once I get to that position.

I knew going into this fight that he didn’t have much experience with MMA himself, being that he fought three somewhat inexperienced fighters before me. But I knew that he trained with high-level people, being that he trained with ATT (American Top Team) and MMA Masters, and that he had a lot of experience in wrestling being that he was an Olympic wrestler. In terms of how much of a challenge he was for me, I have definitely faced some more difficult challenges with more well-rounded opponents.”

Emotions started to show after the referee stopped the fight, it’s a massive moment in his career winning in one of the biggest promotions in the world, at 20 years of age.

“It was a very amazing experience and I was so grateful for the ability to showcase the hard work that I put in during training in the gym. I was just so grateful to the Bellator people for giving me that opportunity to be seen by the world.”

Hungry For More

Hughes only started his amateur career three years ago, now he is 3-0 as a professional and has a win in Bellator, with no looking back. It is safe to say Hughes is rather shocked to already have a win in a promotion the size of Bellator, at his age.

“It’s absolutely incredible being able to perform on such a big stage like that in front of so many people and I definitely did not expect to get this opportunity this soon in my career. I took the fight on a 10-day notice so it was quite a surprise to find out I was gonna get to fight for such a big promotion and it was just an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

Before every fight, I have a lot of nerves leading up and I definitely expected to be even more nervous being that it was on such a big stage but the nervousness started going away pretty shortly after the first round, and then of course after the fight there was just a lot of emotions from just being so overwhelmed with the accomplishment.”

The young American is hoping to get back there as soon as possible, but we won’t be seeing him a fourth time this year, as he’ll helping his brother Dennis Hughes Jr. ahead of his fight for XFC on December 10th.

“As soon as the opportunity presents itself again and hopefully I can get another shot on Bellator or UFC or The Contender Series or something big like that.”

Featured Image courtesy of Bellator MMA

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