Entering the UFC at thirty-six years of age with a 5-6 record, nobody gave Mark Hunt hope of being anything other than a short term UFC also-ran. Boy, didn’t he prove everyone wrong. As the story goes, UFC president Dana White offered to pay Hunt for the remaining fights left on his contract following the Pride takeover rather than letting him fight in the UFC. Hunt, bullishly, turned down the offer and decided he would fight to earn his crust rather than be handed it. The rest, as they say is, history. Fast forward three years and Hunt is one of the most beloved fighters in MMA today.
Hunt entered 2013 riding a 3-0 winning run and although he went 1-1-1 in this calender year, his stock has risen. His first fight of the year, in March, was against 7ft colossus Stefan Struve. With Hunt coming in at 5’10” is was the biggest height discrepancy in the history of the UFC. But, David managed to beat Goliath. As three rounds of bloody war were coming to an end, Hunt landed a leaping-left-hook which literally shattered the jaw of the giant Dutchman and gave Hunt the walkway KO win.
His second fight was a number-one contender for the heavyweight title match-up against Junior Dos Santos. It was a three round shoot out where the bell gave everyone watching the signal to breath. Both mean threw with fire in their right hands. JDS dropped Hunt in the first with a titanic overhand right but the titanium chin stood strong. In the third, Hunt knew he was losing and threw with everything he had. Unfortunately he went out on his shield as Dos Santos floored him with a spinning back kick in one of the knockouts of the year.
The best was left until last. In the twenty-five minutes it lasted, the fight with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva encapsulated everything that is beautiful in controlled violence. Two men started off with a technical shootout which eventually turned into a heart-on-your-sleeve bloodbath and hugged it out when it was all over. It was the most perfect draw in the history of MMA. The fact that Silva failed a post-fight drugs test makes Hunt’s ability to gut it out with him even more impressive.
In 2013, If you want someone who entertained us with his in-cage violent majesty, look no further than Mark Hunt.
image via Getty