Ex-UFC champ Matt Hughes airlifted after truck collides with train

Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes was airlifted to a medical facility after the truck he was driving collided with a train Friday morning.

The accident occurred just south of Raymond, Illinois, about 12 miles north of Hughes' home in Hillsboro.

According to Illinois State Police, Hughes, 43, drove a pickup truck across a railroad grade crossing "directly in front of a train, and the train struck the passenger side of the truck" at 10:43 a.m.

HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, said Hughes was airlifted there and that its trauma team "stabilized him and continues to help him in his recovery."

"Hughes' family asks that you respect their privacy during this difficult time," the hospital's statement, released Friday night, said. "They ask that you keep Matt in your thoughts and prayers."

Montgomery County Sheriff's Officer Rick Robbins confirmed that his office was one of several agencies called to the scene of the accident. Illinois State Police are investigating the crash.

Earlier Friday, UFC president Dana White said he had been in contact with Hughes' family.

"Apparently he has head trauma," White said. "His family is traveling to him now."

Hughes (45-9) held the UFC welterweight championship at various points between 2001 and 2006. He is recognized as one of the greatest 170-pound fighters of all time. Hughes, who has not fought since 2011 and announced his retirement in 2013, publicly said he was considering a comeback fight earlier this year.