When Mark Hunt came to the UFC in 2010, he was a leftover product from the UFC's purchase of Pride Fighting Championships. Hunt had a 5-7 record, and the UFC actually tried to buy out his contract, as opposed to letting him fight in the Octagon.
Now, not even three years later, Hunt has won four fights in a row and has a chance at UFC 160 in May to earn a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.
Following the conclusion of the UFC 158 pre-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White stuck around to speak to reporters. Hunt's name has come up a lot since he signed on last week to face former champion Junior dos Santos in May.
White went on to call Hunt "one of the greatest stories in sports right now," and his winning streak in the heavyweight division cannot be denied.
"I tell you what, it's crazy to say, but if he knocks Junior dos Santos out, how's this guy not next in line?" White said on Thursday.
The same offer will also be extended to Junior dos Santos should he get past Hunt at UFC 160, which would put him back in a heavyweight title fight after losing the belt to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 to close out 2012.
"If he goes in there and destroys Mark Hunt, it makes sense for him to have the title shot again," White said about dos Santos.
The UFC heavyweight title is up for grabs already at UFC 160, when champion Cain Velasquez looks to go two-for-two against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in the main event. Velasquez defeated Silva last year at UFC 146 by TKO, but the Brazilian then picked up big wins over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem to earn a shot at the belt.
The bout between dos Santos and Hunt will serve as the co-main event on the same card, and now both competitors will have even more to fight for with a title shot awaiting the winner.
UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 tickets go on sale on Friday, March 22. The event takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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