Normally signing to a major promotion is a very joyous situation for a fighter, but during a global pandemic, it can be something of a bittersweet moment. Thus is the case for strawweight Sam Hughes, who was recently announced to have signed with the LFA.
After picking up a win over Lisa Mauldin at LFA 81 in January, it was clear to Hughes and her team that the promotion wanted her on their roster. The timing of the announcement of her signing ended up coinciding with MMA being put on hold due to the novel coronavirus.
“We kind of knew back then, and then they were waiting to announce it, and then all the craziness with the pandemic happened,” Hughes told MMAWeekly.com.
“They told us that they wanted to wait to announce it, wait for a better time, and everything else. I think it was just weird timing in general. It’s fine now that everybody knows and everything, and I don’t think it hindered anything.”
Timing aside, for Hughes, signing with the LFA is a validation of all the work she has put into her career over the past few years across both the amateur and pro ranks.
“Everybody knows the LFA is one of the biggest promotions right under the UFC and they are a huge promotion that feeds fighters into those other promotions. So for me it’s such a huge honor to be affiliated with the other athletes in the LFA,” said Hughes.
“I’m so thankful that everybody has backed me and everything like that. It’s really surreal and really cool. I just feel really good that my training has put me in a place where everyone looks at me as a really good competitor and to be with the LFA.”
In the three months since her last fight, Hughes has been preparing as best she can, so when the sport does return, she can get to working on the next stage of her career as quickly as possible.
“Obviously, I stopped training with my training partner, wrestling and stuff like that, because the gym shut down, but I’m still training on my own,” Hughes said. “I’ve been training cardio as hard as ever. I’m continuing with weights. I’m doing high-intensity stuff where I still get a really good burn and still feel it.
“Mainly cardio is the biggest thing for me right now to maintain that level of performance and then just wait for something to open up. You never know when that call is going to happen, so I just want to be ready to go.”
When Hughes is able to return to fighting, she’ll do so at her more natural weight class now that she’s with a promotion which is able to provide her fights there.
“I know coach and I have talked, and we will fight anybody at 115 pounds,” said Hughes. “Honestly, I’m ready to make that transition.
“Up until now we actually had to fight up in weight class because it was hard to get a fight at the 115-pound weight class. Now that the LFA has signed me for strawweight, I’m so excited and more ready than ever before. That’s where I feel like I’m strongest is at the 115-pound weight class.”