Since losing to Cain Velasquez, the former UFC heavyweight champ has undergone a complete mental transformation as a fighter.
He understands that a one-dimensional approach will no longer cut it if he ever hopes to compete with well-rounded studs like Velasquez and Daniel Cormier.
"I was trying to fight standing all the time, but it's MMA and you have to use Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. So now, it's more clear to me. I have to use all my skills to win the fights, especially when you're fighting against someone like Cain Velasquez," dos Santos said during an appearance on MMAJunkie.com Radio.
Dos Santos hopes to show off some of his new skills against Hunt, who recently agreed to step in as a replacement for an injured Alistair Overeem.
On the feet, few heavyweights possess the same kind of technical efficiency as dos Santos, who is arguably the best striker in the entire division. Hunt may not be able to match wits in the stand-up, but he more than makes up for it with a titanium chin and jarring knockout power.
After enduring a six-fight skid, "The Super Samoan" has managed to revitalize his career in the UFC. He is currently on a four-fight win streak, with three of the wins coming by knockout.
The initial excitement surrounding the dos Santos and Hunt bout stemmed from a genuine interest in seeing two of the world's most dangerous heavyweight strikers slug it out on the feet.
The dos Santos from a year ago would be more than happy to exchange blows with Hunt, but the newer version expects to put up a more well-rounded effort this time out.
"You have to get prepared to fight anywhere, and I'm training a lot in my jiu-jitsu skills, and I think I'm getting more confident in that area," he said. "If I feel I have to take him down, I will do that, and I will be looking to submit him."
Will the evolution of dos Santos take his fight game to new heights?
It definitely gives Hunt one more thing to worry about.