Paul Hughes will take to the Octagon again in March when he faces a mouthwatering rematch with rival Jordan Vucenic at The Indigo at the O2 in London for the vacant Cage Warriors featherweight title.
The Fight Academy Ireland man, who trains in Belfast, will take on the only man to have beaten him – Vucenic won their previous meeting by split decision in December 2020 in a clash that won Fight of the Year – for the belt on March 18.
Despite winning the crown in March of this year by out-pointing Morgan Charrière, Vucenic was forced to take time off due to injury and that allowed Hughes to claim the interim title in his absence.
The Belfast man defeated James Hendin and then produced another outstanding fight against Charrière to claim the crown – but now Vucenic, nicknamed ‘The Epidemic’, is back to try and take it back.
“This is not a unification, I am the champion, Vucenic is fighting for my belt,” stated Hughes.
"Jordan had one fight last year, a skimpy split decision win over Morgan (Charrière) who I battered, so he’s fighting for my belt. March 18 is St Paddy’s weekend, so I’m gonna blow the roof off that place!”
Hughes’ record currently sits at 8-1 and, if he was to beat Vucenic, would unite the division and hold the same title that Conor McGregor held before he went on to become a UFC champion.
With three KOs and three submissions in his eight wins, he is one of the rising Irish stars in MMA and trains with former lightweight champion Joe McColgan in Belfast to sharpen his skills.
However, he will not find things easy against a confident Vucenic, who has not only previously beaten Hughes but also has an 8-1 record that boasts two KOs and one submission.
“This is a really great fight to solidify myself as the CW champion!" he said. “We’re not going to go to the championship rounds. I’m getting a second round KO.”