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MMA's latest free agent criticizes Paddy Pimblett for his “stinking attitude” and vows to beat him with one hand

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Hughes won his final fight with the Cage Warriors in emphatic fashion last Saturday, knocking out Fabiano Silva in the first round.

This fight, which took place at Cage Warriors 170 in Dublin, was the culmination of Hughes' five-year, nine-fight stint with the organization.

The 27-year-old is considered one of the best lightweight prospects in the world and is sure to attract interest from the biggest MMA brands.

“I did so much with the Cage Warriors and they built my career,” Hughes told The MMA Hour.

“I had so many great nights. I won the title years ago against [Morgan] Charriere, unified it. I've been there before and done that years ago. And the fact that I'm still here at this point is probably a surprise to everyone, including me and Cage Warriors.

“So no, there was nothing about a re-signing [with Cage Warriors]. It was just a matter of us letting this guy move on.”

Following his victory over Jan Quaeyhaegens last October, Hughes was offered the opportunity to fight under the PFL and Bellator banners, but the Cage Warriors were unwilling to release the fighter.

Now that he's a free agent, Hughes is open to any opportunities that might come his way. Most expect the UFC to be one of those opportunities.

“Honestly, I’m open to anything, man,” Hughes added. “Like I said, I had to dig deep and ask myself: Is it fame that I want?” Is it just influence? Does that mean I'm in the UFC?

“To be honest, I don’t care at all. I just turned 27 last week. I'm not the 21 or 22 year old who dreams of owning the UFC and I want to say that I am a UFC fighter.

“I'm at a point now where I've had a lot of big nights in my career, done a lot of big things, and it's not just about saying, 'Oh, I'm fighting in the UFC.'

“I’m number 1 at the moment [is] to be the best fighter on the planet. There's nothing to say I can't do it. I can do that anywhere. I can still be the best fighter on the planet. But I have to get my worth.”

Should Hughes make the move to the UFC, he would be on his way to joining former Cage Warriors man Paddy Pimblett.

When asked about “Paddy the Baddy,” Hughes said: “He sucks, mate. He's an absolute bastard. He's been around since the Cage Warriors days.

“To be honest, I’m not a big fan of beef and all that. I only do it if it's real, it's not a repair. But I just think that even in the upcoming Cage Warriors era, he always had a stinky attitude when he was around.

“To be honest, I’ve never really seen eye to eye with him. And I think what he's doing – I mean his fights in the UFC – is very, very bad.

“I really believe, like I said [on Instagram], that I would hit him with one hand. And he's an idiot. So [that’s] Absolutely a fight I would want or be open to down the line.”