Mark Hunt may be the most unlikely success story in the UFC.
When the UFC bought the assets of the Pride Fighting Championships in 2007, one of those assets was Mark Hunt, a heavyweight fighter who sported a record of 5-3, with his last two fights ending in submission losses.
Hunt was a piece of Pride that the UFC had no interest in keeping.
The promotion wanted so little to do with Hunt that they were willing to pay him just to be done with him. Hunt said thanks, but no thanks, he wanted to fight for his money, and so the promotion relented and gave him an opportunity in the UFC.
That opportunity did not go well for Hunt. He lost to Sean McCorkle via submission 63 seconds into the bout. Perhaps surprisingly, the UFC didn’t let Hunt go after that loss. They gave him another chance and he made the most of it, earning “Knockout of the Night” honors at UFC 127 when he stopped Chris Tuchscherer in the second round.
Since then, Hunt has not looked back, racking up wins over Ben Rothwell and Cheick Kongo. Most recently, he earned another “Knockout of the Night” performance when he stopped Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in March of this year.
It was that last one, the victory over Struve, that has set Hunt up for a possible shot at UFC heavyweight gold. The win, where the 5'10" Hunt embedded a tooth into the cheek of the seven-foot tall Struve while breaking his jaw, earned Hunt a shot at former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 160.
With a win over Dos Santos, it would be hard to deny that Hunt deserves a shot at the title.
UFC 160 will take place on May 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.