There was a time in his life when Mark Hunt was angry. He was upset by what he didn't have and was consumed by this feeling that the world owed him something.

He looks back now and is thankful that he didn't do something extraordinarily violent, because it was something he was capable of doing.

"Had I not found martial arts," he says, calmly, "I'd probably be in jail or who knows where right now. Fighting saved my life, I believe."

The change in Hunt's life has been so dramatic that now, as he's become one of the top mixed martial arts fighters in the world, he says there is nothing material that much interests him.

Even the UFC heavyweight title belt draws a sigh from the New Zealand native.

"I don't care much about a title," Hunt said, only a few days before he's to meet Stefan Struve on Saturday (Sunday in Japan) in the co-main event of UFC on Fuel TV 8 at the Saitama Super Arena outside of Tokyo. "A belt, things like that, are meaningless to me."

[Also: In a Perfect World: Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones at Madison Square Garden]

The 38-year-old's lack of interest in things that greatly motivate his peers is because he has, he said, surrendered his life to god.

A one-time K1 kickboxing world grand prix champion, Hunt turns nearly every question on virtually every topic into a discussion of his faith. Now that his eyes have been opened to God, he said, he realizes how useless things that once seemed important to him were.

He lives his life now, he said, not to accumulate wealth and material things but to please God. The result, he said, is a happier and more successful person.

"The reason why I do things is because I have surrendered my life to God, man, and that's it, really the easy way of saying why I do what I do. … People say I can't do something; it goes in one ear and out the other," Hunt said. "I know, it's kind of funny.

"The things that were important and really mattered to me in my life before I was a follower of Christ, Jesus Christ, they don't matter that much any more. It's kind of crazy, but it's like I was in the darkness walking around and someone turned the light on. Money doesn't matter; a lot of things don't matter any more. It's just funny. I don't know how better to explain it, but my life is now all about God and understanding more completely what He wants."

The UFC acquired Hunt's contract when it purchased the PRIDE Fighting Championship in 2007. It's no secret that UFC president Dana White had little interest in Hunt, who had lost five fights in a row in PRIDE when the UFC bought the company.

Hunt had three fights remaining on the contract that the UFC purchased, and White was willing to buy out the deal and let Hunt walk. Hunt, though, wasn't so willing.

He wanted to earn what he'd worked for and so he asked White to allow him to fight.

He was coming off consecutive losses to Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Melvin Manhoef and Gegard Mousasi, but Hunt felt he should earn his money. White agreed, and matched him with Sean McCorkle.

McCorkle submitted Hunt at UFC 119 on Sept. 25, 2010, and it seemed that Hunt's MMA career was over. But he was given another shot and hasn't lost since.

He knocked out Chris Tuchscherer and Cheick Kongo and won a decision from Ben Rothwell. Suddenly, improbably, Hunt was in the title mix.

Hunt said it was simply a mental adjustment.

[Also: Ben Henderson Wants a Shot at GSP]

"After I won the K-1 World Grand Prix title [in 2001], I was pretending like I trained and pretending as if I was preparing properly, but I wasn't doing it," Hunt said. "It was a mental thing, I guess. I tried to get on the right track by changing my training and all that jazz. It kind of feels like my first fight."

A win over Struve, one of the UFC's hottest heavyweights, will put him squarely in the title mix.

Hunt, though, sloughs off the significance.

"My job is to go out there and fight, and I'm going to fight with everything I have," Hunt said. "[Struve] is just a human being and what he has doesn't really matter to me. The fight will be what the fight will be. Whatever it is, it is. Win, lose or draw, it doesn't matter. What will matter is to give the people an entertaining show and for me to continue to give glory to God."

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Jacoby Jones had to overcome playoff failure before getting shot on 'DWTS'
Report: Catholic 7 will break away next fall and take the Big East name
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s penalty for marijuana use highlights need for updated regulations
Klay Thompson's father Mychal is fining him for getting fined

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Tito Ortiz Towers Over Bellator 170 Fighter Salaries | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 32 views

Tito Ortiz, already a UFC Hall of Fame member, went out on his own terms on Saturday at Bellator 170, also leading the charge on the disclosed fighter payroll. read news >>

Stephen Thompson Has Gained a Lot More Respect for Tyron Woodley (Video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 26 views

Title challenger Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson has gained a lot of respect for UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. read news >>

UFC on FOX 23 Road to the Octagon: Andrei Arlovski vs. Francis Ngannou | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 91 views

Heavyweights collide at UFC on FOX 23, as former champ Andrei Arlovski faces the division’s fastest rising prospect Francis Ngannou. read news >>

UFC on FOX 23 Road to the Octagon: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 124 views

No. 1-ranked women's bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko looks to continue her ascent by knocking off No. 2 ranked Julianna Pena in the UFC on FOX 23 main event. read news >>

UFC on FOX 23 Road to the Octagon: Donald Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 85 views

In the co-main event at UFC on FOX 23, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is seeking a fifth straight victory in a showdown with Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. read news >>

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC on FOX 23 in Denver

  • 28 days ago
  • 18 views

We want your predictions for the upcoming UFC on FOX 23 event in Denver.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Gilbert Melendez wants 'one last run' at UFC title – and at featherweight

  • 28 days ago
  • 12 views

With three consecutive losses on his record, Gilbert Melendez is looking to make a significant change as he heads down the final stretch of a nearly 15-year career.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, read news >>

Kamaru Usman wants to make UFC matchmakers' job easy by laying out fight schedule

  • 28 days ago
  • 11 views

UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman figures from his current position in the 170-pound class, he has about four jumps to make before he’s champion. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, read news >>

UFC's Kelvin Gastelum bothered by weight doubts but admits 'I've brought it onto myself'

  • 28 days ago
  • 8 views

Happy with the headliner spot opposite “legend” Vitor Belfort in Brazil, Kelvin Gastelum says his future as far as weight divisions go is riding on one simple factor: “I want a fight that will get me read news >>

The UFC Performance Institute Is a Break From MMA's Caveman Past | FIGHTLAND

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

In the midst of sharing practice room war stories from his days at Miletich Fighting Systems, author Sam Sheridan got to the heart of why so many of the gym's UFC champions—Jens Pulver, Matt Hughes, read news >>