Two years ago Mark Hunt wasn’t even supposed to be in the UFC. Today he’s on the cusp of receiving a title-shot.
The strange journey of Hunt began when Zuffa acquired PRIDE where the 38-year old had made a name for himself with a slew of entertaining bouts against the likes of Mirko Filipovic, Wanderlei Silva, and Fedor Emelianenko. Though the company was willing to buy out his contract, letting him walk with salary, the proud New Zealander preferred to honor the deal and made his Octagon debut instead. Though he lost the match-up, he won his next outing with a brutal knockout to set up the three-fight run he’s currently on that was capped off in February with a beautiful finish of Cheick Kongo.
With Alistair Overeem likely out of a May 26 title-fight with Junior dos Santos due to a failed drug test, Hunt has now become the unlikely candidate of an underground movement to see him fill the probable vacancy. The push was given even more steam when UFC President Dana White removed Frank Mir from the equation by stating he’d face Cain Velasquez as expected, thus leaving Hunt in a very enviable spot.
“I think people like to see an underdog in there,” said Hunt on The MMA Show when asked about the online movement to see him get a crack at Dos Santos’ belt. “I wasn’t even wanted in the UFC, put it that way. And here we are talking about me having a title shot. Two years ago you’d have laughed at the thought. I think people like to see a good Rocky story.”
If by some strange stroke of fortune Hunt is given an opportunity to face Dos Santos he’s also confident he can pull off the upset, paying homage the fans who would have potentially helped him get the shot.
“I match-up good against anyone, so of course I feel like I match-up good against him,” explained Hunt of the Brazilian champion. “The people that think I don’t have a chance against anybody on this planet, they are certainly mistaken. But it’s good to be underestimated. I like to be the underdog. I don’t have a chance. That’s great, it gives me more drive, more fire.”
Hunt is currently scheduled to face Stefan Struve at UFC 146 where Dos Santos-Overeem is still set as the headliner until Overeem’s status is resolved with the NSAC on April 24.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC