It’s fair to say there’s a few fighters in the UFC that are quite frankly, pricks. (Jon Jones anyone?) But how could anybody hate on the “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt?!
This is a guy that has fought the best kick boxers on the planet in K-1 and by his late teens had already served two prison terms for fighting on the streets. Hunt had no intentions of training to be a professional fighter of any sort until one fateful night in an Auckland bar. After going full hulk mode and putting to sleep no less than four blokes in a brawl, the seed was sown by a friend who convinced Hunt to begin training and using his super human like punching power for the greater good.
The jaw cracking Kiwi has been knocking the bells out of his opponents for over a decade since, and has fought a who’s who of kick boxers and MMA fighters.
A little while after becoming the K-1 champion in only his second year as a pro kick boxer, Hunt made the move from kickboxing to MMA and the esteemed Pride organisation in Japan. He lost his first bout via armbar, but was not deterred and went on a 5 fight win streak including victories over the legends Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva. Hunt’s aggressive and slug heavy style won over the Japanese fans who quickly fell in love with the star.
Consecutive losses to Josh Barnett and Russian kingpin Fedor Emilianenko quickly halted Hunt’s run, and he hit rock bottom in his MMA career, losing a further four fights leaving him with a rather unsavoury record of 5-7.
When Zuffa announced that Pride was no more, (sniff, sad face) and would be acquired by the UFC, the new owners offered to pay up Hunt’s contract. He was on a slide and they felt the deal was amicable. Hunt waived the deal, and decided to fight instead when many people In his position would have walked away.
The rest as they say, is history. Fast forward to the here and now and after leaving a trail of destruction in his wake the Kiwi is about to face BJJ world champion Fabricio Werdum for the “interimcainvelasquezisinjuredagain” UFC heavyweight title. After a stupendous walk away knock out victory over fellow heavy hitter Roy Nelson in his last outing, Hunt has all the confidence in the world going into this fight.
Werdum is without doubt one of Hunt’s toughest opponents to date and the Brazilian will be equally confident. Werdum displayed crisp striking in his last outing against Travis Browne but it’s in Brazilian Ju Jitsu and his skills on the mat where he really exceeds. But as Hunt so eloquently put it recently; “I hit them in the head and there goes their fucking black belt.”
At 40 years old it’s likely to be Hunt’s last chance at facing Velasquez and fighting for the Heavyweight strap proper.
It could be the beginning or the end for both of these men’s title dreams, all will be revealed this Saturday when the UFC makes history at UFC 180 in Mexico City, Mexico.
So, Team Hunt?