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PFL Europe Exclusive: Connor Hughes opens up on Dylan Tuke loss and lessons from Berlin heartbreak

PFL Europe contender Connor Hughes admits his team ‘developed’ after last year’s defeat to Dylan Tuke.

Hughes entered the inaugural PFL tournament in 2023 with high hopes but bowed out at the first hurdle following a loss to Tuke in Berlin.

The Liverpool-native returns for the 2024 edition of the tournament as he prepares to take on Anatolij Baal in Paris this Thursday night.

Hughes believes he and his team have come a long way since the loss to Tuke.

Looking back at the defeat, the 26-year-old told Planet Sport: “I think it was experience against inexperience.

“Me and Tuke were cool but he was just smarter than me on the night. I do believe I can beat him and I believe nine fights after that I would.

“He was smarter than me and I can’t take that away from him. He did open my eyes a lot to strategy, gameplan, mentality.

“He’s been in the game for years. He’s been a pro for longer then I’ve been fighting. He’s fought on all the big shows before, he knows what’s what, he know what to expect.

“The whole thing for me was just a mad experience. Mad, mad experience. Going from fighting on regional and local shows to being on PFL.

“I think it was just down to the gameplan. He had a better gameplan. He was smarter on the night. Having said that, It’s opened my eye a lot. It’s helped me grow mentally as a fighter.

“But it’s also developed my team. We all sat down and spoke about what went wrong. What we did well and what we didn’t do well. We’ve just grown as a whole.

“As much as I hated it at the time, it’s part of the journey that it happened. It happened to be better for this year.”


PFL was the ‘only option’

Hughes admitted he was intent on an immediate return to PFL after his first professional loss to Tuke.

The 8-1 lightweight contender was able to return to winning ways against Sebas Santana Guedes in Dublin last December.

Looking back, Hughes added: “I wanted to be in straight away. As soon as I got home from Berlin, I was on the phone to my manager. I was like ‘what’s going on, what’s next’.

“Within two/three days of being home, he pretty much said to me we’re going to get you back on. We just made the decision to stick with Dublin.

“There was no doubt about it. I wanted to get back in and get back to winning ways. Obviously still wanted to fight for the PFL so that was the only option.”


Returning to winning ways

Hughes revealed that his victory over Guedes in Dublin was ‘massive’ as he put himself back into PFL Europe contention.

The 26-year-old may not have received the opportunity to compete in the tournament in 2024 should the Dublin fight not gone his way.

“No fighter wants to lose and no fighter wants to lose twice in a row,” said Hughes.

“It was an important fight for me. If I had lost that fight, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now.

“It was a huge fight for me but obviously we won. It was nice to get a win on a big promotion, but it was nice to put the Berlin fight in the past and move on from that.

“Even though it was a different fight, I still felt I was carrying the loss of Berlin into that one. I had to prove why I deserve to be here.

“We got the fight, we got the win, and now we’re in a better position than we were before. I’m excited to be back, excited to kick start the tournament again and let people know that I’m winning it this year and I’m coming for that belt.”

Fans can watch PFL Paris this Thursday live on DAZN.

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