A massive upset took place at Bellator 271, and it was 20-year old Ethan Hughes who did it.
When upsets happen in MMA, they can be glorious. It’s one of those things that keeps the sport exciting: anyone can beat anyone on any given night. A -1300 favorite can go down, and that’s what happened.
At Bellator 271 on November 12, Egyptian Olympian Mahmoud Sebie made his Bellator debut against Hughes (3-0). Hughes was a +750 underdog, and Sebie was as high as -1500 on some sportsbooks. With those odds, the Egyptian was supposed to manhandle Hughes— especially given all of Sebie’s wins came in under two minutes. Well, it didn’t happen.
Hughes weathered the early onslaught of Sebie and ended up finishing the Olympian in the third via TKO.
While most fighters would get the hint that they were being brought in to lose, Hughes didn’t feel that way. Mainly because he has been the underdog in most of his fights, so it’s a role he doesn’t mind taking.
“I always feel like that. I guess I’m more comfortable with that feeling because it is a lot less pressure when you’re expected to lose. But I surprise people,” Hughes told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview.
“I knew this was a skilled guy, and since this was a Bellator fight, it was much bigger than I’m used to. I was prepared to give everything that I had and really push, so I definitely wasn’t underestimating him at all.”
Hughes took the fight on ten days’ notice, and there was never a time where his head told him to pull out. He was all in.
“Oh, definitely not. This was for Bellator; this was big time. I actually had a shoulder injury before the fight. I had to back out of my previous fight, but even with that, I was like, fighting for Bellator, I’ll take it. I expected to win, I always want to win, but we expected this was going to be a tough guy, and win lose or draw it was good experience,” Hughes said.
Hughes said he had a great time with the promotion, and after the fight, he was congratulated. Talks for another fight in Bellator are ongoing, but he hopes to get another fight with the promotion and continue his winning ways.
Before that, though, he has to get his older brother Dennis Hughes ready for his fight on December 10.
It was actually his brother that got him to MMA. Well, his brother, his dad, and anime.
“My dad would watch MMA when we were really young. He would buy the videotapes. He would also watch the cool Bruce Lee movies, stuff like that, he also got us into anime. Initially, it was Dragon Ball Z, and then we watched more and more. The combat, the fighting, that type of culture spoke to us,” Hughes said. Once his brother Dennis started fighting, he was right behind a year later.
Watch the rest of Ethan Hughes’ interview above, where he talks about his MMA origins, his fight against Mahmoud Sebie, his game plan, his new management, and more.