Paul Hughes Looking to Back Up Own Words at Bellator Dublin

A big free agent signing for the PFL (and as a result, Bellator), Ireland’s Paul Hughes makes his big-stage debut at Bellator Dublin on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

For featherweight Hughes, who reportedly received a low-ball offer from the UFC, arriving in a major promotion is a big next step in a career that dates back to 2014, when he kicked off a successful amateur run. Turning pro in 2017, Hughes would claim gold in Cage Warriors, gaining considerable attention as a result.

“It feels good, and it feels right. I do believe that I deserve this, especially for this next chapter in my career,” Hughes said during this week’s Bellator Dublin media day, ahead of his co-main event fight with Bobby King. “I feel very content with it all. It’s new stimulation, it’s new energy, and I absolutely love it. Working with new teams, it’s awesome. Looking forward to Saturday night.”

Hughes has been talked about plenty ahead of his debut, but it’s not the words of others, but his own that he’s looking to live up to, he told Cageside Press.

“Look, I’ve got to deliver, because I’ve got to back up my own words. It’s not what other people are saying. People can say what they want, but it’s what I say to myself. I have to back up my own words, and I like to do that, because it adds to the pressure to myself. Ultimately, I’m just trying to prove to myself every time, to be completely honest.”

“I’ve been out here saying I’m the best in the world, I believe I’m top five all organizations right now,” Hughes added. “Saying that, I haven’t fought the caliber of people to make them claims, but this is me just putting that out there and manifesting it, and I will be doing that soon.”

Hughes is just the latest star to emerge from Ireland on the global stage, something he believes is in part to Bellator’s frequent stops in the country.

“For Ireland to be on the world stage of MMA – Bellator have heavily invested in Ireland for many years, so it’s great to kind of see that coming to fruition now, and the stars that they’re building. So it’s a pleasure and an honor to be on this card with my fellow Irish men and women,” he stated.

Watch the full Bellator Dublin media day appearance by Paul Hughes above.