Hughes targets title-fight eliminator

Cape Town - English lightweight Gavin Hughes says there is a good chance he will be on the first EFC card of the year in a title-shot eliminator.

Africa’s premier MMA promotion is set to open 2019 with EFC 77 at Time Square in Pretoria on Saturday, March 16.

The event will be headlined by former lightweight champion Martin van Staden (26-11) going up against Joe Cummins (5-1) for the belt, which was vacated with Dave Mazany’s (17-6-1) retirement in October 2018.

Hughes (9-1) has not fought since suffering the sole defeat of his career to Van Staden by second-round TKO in March last year, but could make his return against Anicet Kanyeba (9-9) after being called out by the ‘Showstopper’ in December.

“I am waiting. There is a good chance I’ll be on the March card,” Hughes tells mmaengage.com.

He confirmed his interest in facing Kanyeba, who impressively knocked out Cameron Pritchard (4-2) in his last outing in September for a third win from his last four fights.

“Yeah, well he’s been calling me out, so I’d like the fight,” Hughes says.

“I also think the EFC are wanting us to fight for the number one contender spot.”

He adds: “Am told (if I) win my next fight then I fight for the title.”

Hughes also explained his lengthy absence from the hexagon, having seen a fight fall through with Van Staden’s Coach Quan University teammate Alain ‘Commanda Boy’ Ilunga (11-5) in November.

“I was waiting for the EFC. They offered a fight in October but I was away on holiday at the time.

“Then I was told November against Commanda Boy but it never (happened).

“Reason was, he said he wouldn’t fight Van Staden as we would have been fighting for a contender spot if he beat me.

“So the EFC said it was a pointless fight.”