Mark Hunt is a power-puncher of the highest quality, but even he admits his fight for the UFC interim heavyweight title will be an uphill battle on Saturday. Coming in with just three weeks of preparation after Mexican star Cain Velasquez backed out with an injury, Hunt is dealing with conditioning and altitude issues before this marquee fight with Fabricio Werdum.
The current sportsbook odds for UFC 180 are up, and the movement suggests the public likes Werdum a lot. The line favors Werdum heavily and has only moved more and more since it opened.
Hunt isn’t exactly convincing fighting fans in his pre-fight press. In an extensive interview with MMAFighting, Hunt seemed to be visibly struggling with the challenges in front of him, and noted that the adjustments have been tougher than he realized.
Amongst other things, it doesn’t seem as though he understood the particular challenges of cutting the amount of weight he had to in the last 21 days, and altitude difference in Mexico City.
“I didn’t realize how much weight I had to lose,” he said. “I’m hungry. I’ve had no carbs.”
It doesn’t stop there. Hunt talked about not having realized the extremity of the altitude in Mexico City, and that it’s been tougher to adjust than he expected, citing that the road to his fight with Werdum has seen him face “one problem after another.”
That said, Hunt should be taken with a grain of salt. He will make weight, and this is one of the most devastating strikers in mixed martial arts. Even if he isn’t 100 percent, it would only take one punch from him to end this fight. While Werdum has an excellent chin, he has been knocked out by uppercut before, and Hunt’s uppercut is one of the best in the business.
Hunt is fully aware of the challenges, and it would be nice to see him more confident, but the tired ramblings of a fighter who has had to go through a harrowing preparation period should only be taken so seriously. Hunt has been a lifelong underdog and will revel in the opportunity to fight as one come Saturday.