Mark Hunt vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 Will Determine No. 1 Contender


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Mark Hunt UFC 119-007-478x270The Ultimate Fighting Championship didn’t want Mark Hunt and offered to pay him to go away, but Hunt knew something the UFC didn’t; he was a top heavyweight in the world despite his Pride FC record.

UFC president Dana White explained following the UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz pre-fight press conference on Thursday how Hunt went from unwanted to being one punch away from a title fight.

“(UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva was doing the deal to sign Mark Hunt for the (Junior dos Santos) fight.  They were going back and forth, and Joe Silva called and said they turned down the fight.  There’s a lot of different ways you can turn down a fight,” said White.

“I ended up calling Mark Hunt.  When I talked to him, he was upset about a lot of things, a lot of things I didn’t know about.  We talked.  We had a good conversation.  Then I called him back and fixed some of the things he was talking about, and now he’s back and we ended up getting the fight done.”

Hunt felt disrespected and unwanted, and rightfully so.

“There were a lot of things that he was upset about.  One of the big things that happened with Mark Hunt was he felt very disrespected and felt like he never really belonged here because recently when we did this Pride deal, he had a contract in place with Pride.  We didn’t want to bring him into the UFC because he had a losing record in Pride.  We didn’t want to bring him into the UFC, so we said, listen, we’ll pay you the money and you can ride off in the sunset at the end of the day.  He was like, ‘(expletive) that.  I want to be paid to fight.  I want to come in and fight.’  First of all, a losing record, his age, everything. The guy hadn’t fought in a long time.  It was like it makes no sense to bring this guy in,” explained the UFC president.

“He fought it and fought it and fought it.  Finally we said, fine.  You want to earn the money and fight anybody, come on in.  Since that day, how we didn’t want him and have him basically go away, he took incredible offense to that and then never really felt like he fit or belonged here.  I understand that,” he added.

“I said I’m going to fix the things that have made you feel this way.  I understand why you feel this way and I’m sorry that this happened to you.  We do respect you, and I think you’re one of the best stories in sports right now to be honest with you.  It took a couple of days.  I got everything worked out, and now he’s ecstatic and happy, and I’m happy that I could do it,” said White.

Hunt was on a five-fight losing streak when he made his UFC debut against Sean McCorkle at UFC 119 in September 2010.  He was submitted by McCorkle in just over a minute, but the UFC didn’t release him from contract.

“We just didn’t cut him.  We kept him.  Now imagine had we cut him,” reflected White.

“Even though we weren’t wrong, we ended up being wrong.  He proved us wrong.  He proved anyone who doubted him wrong.”

Since the loss to McCorkle, Hunt has gone on a four-fight winning streak, finishing three of the four opponents by knockout.  He earned Knockout of the Night honors in his last outing at UFC on Fuel TV 8: Silva vs. Stann on March 3, breaking Stefan Struve’s jaw in the process.

Hunt faces dos Santos at UFC 160 on May 25, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  A win over dos Santos will put Hunt in line for a UFC title fight.

“If he knocks Junior dos Santos out, I mean, how is this guy not next in line?  It would be crazy to think that he couldn’t,” said White.

Asked if the Hunt vs. dos Santos fight is a No. 1 contender bout, White answered, “I would have to say yeah.”

Be sure to Like MMAWeekly.com on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 11 days ago
  • 1075 views

Will the fifteenth time be the charm? Alistair Overeem will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon when he faces Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 50, which is scheduled for Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Ledyard, Conn., on Sept. 5, 2014. Overeem -- who is now 100-percent healthy -- recently returned to the win column at UFC 169 with a decision win over Frank Mir after suffering back-to-back losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne in 2013. He'll look to make it two straight wins when he faces more

  • 2 days ago
  • 0 views

Stipe Miocic still wants that fight with Junior dos Santos. The Cleveland-based heavyweight had what he thought was his potential breakthrough fight when he was scheduled to meet the former UFC heavyweight champion on May 31 in Brazil. But dos Santos had to pull out of the bout with a broken hand, and Miocic instead went on to record a fast knockout of Fabio Maldonado, who was coming up from light heavyweight on short notice. So with nothing else on his agenda at the moment, the 12-1 Miocic says more

  • 15 days ago
  • 52 views

Brazil’s Tiago dos Santos is set to meet Akbarh Arreola, from Mexico, at UFC on FOX 12, which finalizes the card with 12 fights later this month in San Jose.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 21 days ago
  • 39 views

Thiago Santos takes on fellow The Ultimate Fighter alum Uriah Hall at UFC 175, but he’s not scared of his flashy knockouts or unorthodox attacks. Santos scored one of the biggest upsets of the year with a 53-second knockout over Ronny Markes at UFC Fight Night 38 in March, and he wants to do it again on Saturday night’s card in Las Vegas, Nev. "He’s flashy, has his own style, and I have to pay attention. He has unorthodox attacks and he can surprise you at any moment, but I’m not afraid of him," more

  • 10 days ago
  • 59 views

Former Strikeforce and K-1 champion Alistair Overeem still wants a piece of former UFC heavyweight titleholder Junior dos Santos, even though his next opponent is already booked. The Reem briefly mentioned his desire to square off with the Brazilian power puncher when he appeared on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, per Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting. "I'm focused and I want to really fight," Overeem said. "I'm very optimistic [a bout with dos Santos] is going to come and I want it to come. I could see more

  • 28 days ago
  • 64 views

One of the middleweight stalwarts that Lyoto Machida dispatched en route to a title shot was Mark Munoz. Check out the full fight, where Machida dropped his friend Munoz at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz. more

  • 28 days ago
  • 36 views

Ronda Rousey is a woman possessed whenever she steps into the Octagon, which she will do for the third time in less than seven months at UFC 175 against Alexis Davis. She's been the biggest female star in mixed martial arts for two years but has lacked a real challenge. That's why Rousey's matchup with Davis is so important for the future of women's mixed martial arts, especially if Davis pulls off the upset. Right now, the former Olympian is the only viable drawing card in that division to the more

  • 27 days ago
  • 49 views

Did you miss Nate Marquardt submitting James Te Huna in today’s early-morning UFC Fight Night 43 headliner? Check out the video highlights.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos more

  • 27 days ago
  • 42 views

Johnny Bedford suffered a disappointing loss on Saturday night, but it's not one he takes lightly or takes the blame for. He puts the blame fully on a bad call by referee Kerry Hatley. more