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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Louis Evans

Connor Hughes signs up for shot at $100,000 PFL glory

The Professional Fighters League - the world’s fastest-growing sports league - has added Merseysider Connor Hughes to its inaugural 2023 European season roster.

The 155lb’er will enter the MMA promotion’s eight-man lightweight tournament, where combatants compete for a $100,000 bounty.

After cutting his teeth in karate and kickboxing at his grandad’s academy in Prescot, Hughes has peeled off a perfect 6-0 stoppage streak since turning professional - with only one contest extending beyond the opening round (2 KOs, 4 submissions).

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As the buzz continues to build around the 25-year-old ‘closer’, the Dovecot man contends that the PFL provides the best platform to showcase his explosive arsenal.

“I had a multi-fight offer from Cage Warriors; I had a multi-fight offer from Oktagon (MMA); I had a multi-fight deal from an Egyptian show I can’t even remember the name of”, Hughes said speaking exclusively to the ECHO.

“But the PFL stood out to me. I knew about the European league anyway, I knew they were coming to Europe.

“Aside from the fact it’s the fastest-growing promotion in the world at the minute, what they offered just couldn’t be turned down.

“If I win the tournament, I win $100,000. Off the back of that, I’ll get a spot in the world league where I get the chance to fight for $1,000,000!

“It’s growing. There’s room for development and I’m already looking at what’s next.”

The tournament - which could see the sleek striker compete in three events across Europe over five months - kicks off at the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle on March 25th.

However, the former Rainhill High schoolboy Hughes debut is delayed until the tournament’s second outing, at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin (Germany) on July 8th, live on DAZN.

Despite consistent outings across North West regional events, including Almighty Fighting Championship and Preston-based UKFC, Hughes concedes the PFL tournament structure places ruthless expectations on its rising contenders.

His proven potent finishing, however, could be the key to claiming the European crown and that life-altering global contract.

“It works in my favour”, continues the confident Hughes. “Every fight I’ve had since turning pro, I’ve sought the finish quite early.

“I’m accurate, I’m fast, and I always find a way to put you out of there - whether it’s on the feet or taking your back. I’ve got really good timing, precision and speed.

“But it’s gonna be tough. The fights are near enough every eight weeks. You’re gonna have to stay on weight all the time; you’re gonna have to go straight back into fight camp after just having fought.

“At the same time, that’s kinda what I’m used to. Throughout being an amateur and a pro, all my fights have been very close together. I’m having three to four fights every year.”

Though undoubtedly enthralled by this maiden opportunity at the PFL, the MMA Academy enlistee has ambitions stretching far beyond the European season.

Without remotely overlooking any immediate adversaries, Hughes admits the PFL could deliver a springboard to satisfying loftier ambitions.

“The PFL is a massive organisation and there’s gonna be some big talent in there,” he acknowledges.

“But my long-term goal is to win the European league, go straight into the American league, win the PFL World Title and the million dollars.

“After that, I’ll be looking at my options outside of the PFL. I’ll be looking towards the UFC. I’m the same as most fighters; I want the UFC; I want the UFC title, becoming a champion there and cementing my legacy that way.

“Personally, I wanna go down as one of the best to ever do it, one of the best in my era, at least. The only way of doing that is to get into the UFC, becoming a champion, and then becoming a dominant champion.”


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