"I'm going to tell the UFC to put me up on a shelf and we'll see what happens after that," he said.
But to UFC president Dana White, it sounded like perhaps the closest that the über-competitive Hughes could ever bring himself to admitting that his time in the sport may be done.
"I think he's going to retire," White said at Saturday night's post-fight press conference. "I just don't think Hughes wants to say the word 'retire,' is what I think."
Hughes didn't make an appearance at the post-fight presser, though he offered his services if needed, White said. The UFC boss told him he could skip it, but he also told reporters that he expects to have a conversation with the former welterweight champion soon that will finally put the matter of his uncertain future to rest.
"There was a lot of talk that this was the last fight on his contract; I don't know if that's true or not, because he's a guy I've never worried about last fights or whatever," White said. "...He's going to fly out to Vegas in the next month or so and sit down and talk, but I'm pretty sure he's going to retire -- without saying 'retirement.'"
After hurting Hughes with a solid right hand and then finishing him with hammer fists in the final seconds of the opening round, Koscheck said he expressed his respect and admiration for Hughes in a private conversation inside the cage.
"I just told Matt, 'Hey, thanks for taking the fight. I know it was a great honor to fight you. You're a true champion and you'll always be respected, so thanks for taking the fight,'" he said, after giving Hughes credit for a good game plan in the first half of the round.
Had things gone the other way in Denver, White remained convinced that there was no way Hughes would have even considered retirement.
"I honestly think that if Matt Hughes would have beat Josh Koscheck tonight, we'd be talking about who Matt was fighting next," he said. "There's no doubt about it. I know that guy, I've known him for over ten years, and he's a competitor. He's really, really upset."
The bout was the 25th in Hughes' storied UFC career, and his 54th overall. It was also the last on his current UFC contract, though he told reporters before the bout that they shouldn't expect to hear him make any decision one way or the other about his future in the cage immediately after the fight.
That's fine if it helps him cope, White suggested, but he's pretty sure he knows which direction Hughes is headed now.
"He's really upset," White said. "He wanted to win this last fight. I'm almost 100 percent positive he's going to retire. I don't think he's going to do anything else."
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