Cage Warriors featherweight champion Paul Hughes is moving up a weight class to take on a fresh challenge at Cage Warriors 161 in October.

The main event bout, which is set to take place at the RDS in Dublin on October 14, will see Hughes move up to lightweight to take on Belgian contender Jan Quaeyhaegens in a lightweight championship eliminator.

Hughes captured the interim featherweight title against Morgan Charriere at Cage Warriors 128 in October 2021, then defeated Jordan Vucenic in a title unification bout at Cage Warriors 145 last November to become the undisputed featherweight champion.

Now Hughes is set to move up to 155 pounds, where victory over Quaeyhaegens will put him at the top of the contenders list and line him up for a huge champion-versus-champion matchup with reigning lightweight king George Hardwick.

Quaeyhaegens has his own plans, however, and will look to extend his win streak to six in the biggest bout of his career.

“Q-Bomb” has 11 career victories to his name, with every one of his wins coming inside the distance – eight by knockout, three by submission – and he’ll look to add the highly-touted Hughes to his list of victims when they meet in Dublin next month.

“We’ve got a superfight with career-defining repercussions lined up for what is set to be another iconic night of action in Ireland,” said Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan.

“Paul Hughes is looking to cement his legacy in the yellow gloves by moving up in pursuit of a second title.

“Jan Quaeyhaegens is one of the most dangerous lightweights in Europe and has never been the distance.

“All the ingredients are in place for an incredible main event on October 14, as the Irish MMA revolution continues!”

Cage Warriors 161: Confirmed bouts

  • Paul Hughes vs. Jan Quaeyhaegens
  • Mason Jones vs. Yann Liasse
  • Ryan Shelley vs. Jordy Bakkes
  • James Sheehan vs. Olli Santalahti
  • Taka Mhandu vs. Alexander Pirev
  • Paddy McCorry vs. Samir Kadi
  • Solomon Simon vs. Marko Sarasjarvi
  • Ger Harris vs. Ryan Heritt
  • Sean Clancy Jr. vs. Milton Cabral