Miletich, the UFC’s first 170-pound champion, taught Hughes what he knew as Hughes went on to become the first great, longtime UFC welterweight champion in MMA’s modern era.
So Miletich is as informed as anyone as he relays the latest in Hughes’ battle to recover from a horrific June 16 accident.
Hughes, whose pickup truck was slammed on the passenger side by an oncoming train in Raymond, Ill., is no longer in a coma, Miletich reported on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
“He is surprising the doctors,” Miletich said. “He’s making great leaps and he’s no longer in a coma, and he’s improving. It’s going to be a long road. Any type of head trauma at that level, there’s going to be some rehab.”
Miletich also relayed new details of the accident, explaining that Hughes was apparently stuck on a hill and wasn’t able to cross the track in time to avoid the train.
“The [train] engineer said, Matt had stopped on the gravel road,” Miletich said. “It’s a hill, goes up, it’s a real quick hill that goes up to the railroad tracks. He had stopped, then tried to get across it in time. The train was going almost 50 MPH.
“When you’re out in the country, there’s no crossing guards, there’s no lights,” Miletich continued. “It’s almost like, he saw it, then tried to beat it. What I would say is that, you’re on a gravel road out in country on a hill and you’re trying to punch it and get over, you’re going to swing tires, he didn’t get across in time and got clipped on the passenger side.”
Miletich said he hasn’t been able to visit Hughes, who has been at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Ill., since the accident.
“Nobody is allowed to visit him besides family,” Miletich said. “That’s it right now. They don’t want to overload him, they want his energy to go to healing and not to anything else.”
But he has no doubt they’ll meet again.
“I’m 100 percent sure he’s going to make a full recovery,” he said.