Apparently, not every title shot within the UFC can be earned equally—especially not if you're MMA veteran Mark Hunt.
Despite being one of the only heavyweights in the promotion on a four-fight winning streak (with one of those victories coming against formerly top-ranked Stefan Struve), the "Super Samoan" won't be fighting for a title shot at UFC 160.
However, his opponent—Junior Dos Santos—will still get a crack at the belt if he wins.
Did u say if junior wins he gets title shot and if I win I don't hahahahahaha really — mark richard hunt (@markhunt1974) April 30, 2013
Originally, the UFC president had suggested that it would be unfair to deny Hunt a title shot after his brutal "Knockout of the Night" win against Struve at UFC on Fuel 8 in Japan, telling the media (via MMA Junkie) that Hunt was "next in line" for the title.
But with Nelson's own "Knockout of the Night" victory over UFC veteran gatekeeper Cheick Kongo, White seems to have second thoughts.
Hunt's status as a title contender is unusual given his MMA career, which stalled in a five-fight losing streak during his run in the Japanese promotions PRIDE and Dream.
But in a strange twist of fate, the UFC contractually owed Hunt money after acquiring his old contract from PRIDE, along with several other fighters—but rather than take a buyout, Hunt instead elected to earn his cash in the Octagon.
After a loss in his UFC debut, Hunt rallied back with four wins against Struve, Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchscherer, earning two "Knockout of the Night" bonuses and flipping his 5-6 pre-UFC ledger into a more respectable 9-7 record.
Hunt has been clamoring for a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship since his career revival, but as White hinted in the aftermath of UFC 159, he may not offer Hunt a chance at the 265-pound title even if he defeats JDS on May 25 in Las Vegas (via ESPN).
Me and Joe [Silva] never talk about fights the night of the fights, but we talked tonight. And we like Roy Nelson vs. [Daniel] Cormier; or Roy Nelson – if Mark Hunt wins – Roy and Mark.
If [Roy] wants to get close to the title, those are the guys he's going to have to face. I know what he wants is a title shot, and I honestly think he deserves to get a fight with one of the top guys to get him closer to that or to get him that shot.
Hunt has since been retweeting messages from his fans and followers, some of whom are saying that both Hunt and JDS should be fighting for a title shot.
Dos Santos was originally slated to compete in a grudge match against Overeem on the UFC 160 main card, but Hunt stepped in as late replacement when "The Demolition Man" withdrew from the match due to a quadriceps injury (via MMA Fighting).