UFC heavyweight competitor Mark Hunt may be one win away from fighting for the UFC title. Yes, the same Mark Hunt whom the UFC once tried to pay to just go away and never fight for the promotion at all.
Hunt’s road from unwanted asset to title-fight contender is a crazy story. On Thursday, UFC president Dana White spoke about the tale of Mark Hunt.
When the UFC bought PRIDE FC, Hunt was part of that deal. His record at the time was 5-3, and he was coming off consecutive first-round submission losses to Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko. As White recalled, Hunt was not a fighter the UFC wanted: “We said ‘here, we’ll just buy your PRIDE contract out and pay you not to fight.'"
According to White, Hunt replied, “‘I want to fight, I want to earn it’ and he comes in and does what he did.”
What Hunt did and is still doing is to win. Sure he lost his first fight with the UFC, falling to a Sean McCorkle armbar at UFC 119, but since that loss, it’s been all victories for Hunt.
Hunt has won four straight fights. Two of them earned him “Knockout of the Night” bonus money, including his spectacular walk-off knockout of Stefan Struve on the UFC on Fuel TV 8 fight card.
White was asked if he admired the stance and accomplishments that Hunt has run up since their conversation about the possible buyout. The UFC president took it one step further than mere admiration: “I don’t admire it, I absolutely, positively and completely respect it. What he’s been able to accomplish is one of the greatest stories in sports right now. It’s unbelievable.”
Will Hunt take another step in his unbelievable journey? We’ll find out on Saturday night when he faces Junior dos Santos in the co-main event of UFC 160.
All quotes were obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report MMA.