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

March 15, 2013
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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.”

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  • Jason Decipher

    Let the negative comments about the UFC heavyweight division begin…

    • Well it starting to bore me to be honest.

    • huntingmark

      The HW division is where it’s at right now for various reasons, one being that UFC never had a good HW division and failed to acquire some of PRIDE’s HWs.

      Bring Sergei and Barnett to the UFC!

      Carwin…please heal fast!

      Brock…we need you back!

      Please promote Werdum Dana!

      And wait until DC vs Mir.

      And if Fedor comes out of retirement and joins the UFC, we would have a pretty stacked HW division.

      Cain, JDS, Reem, Werdum, Bigfoot, D.C., Mir, Barnett, Carwin, Brock, Sergei, Nog, and Fedor!!!!!! <–that's 13 world-class fighters!!

      • zztoppppp

        I never want to see fedor or lesnar anywhere near another cage ever again. Maybe 3 years ago, but now the farther away from the UFC they are, the better.

  • adice89

    Hunt will put his hands on dos santos and that will be it. Jds better take him down and quick. The combinations hunt can throw at his size is incredible.

  • I understand that if Hunt beats Dos Santos he deserves a title shot, but Dos Santos just got demolished by Velasquez and if he beats Hunt he gets another title shot?

    • i compeletely agree it is way too soon for jds vs valesequez 3, let wedrum get the shot after he beats nog

      • If werdum beats Nog, he should get a title shot, for sure.

      • bajafox

        And if Cain repeats his mauling, where would that leave JDS in the HW division? He would probably have a long road ahead to get a 4th shot. I agree with you guys as well, it’s way too soon for a Cain v. JDS 3. I think the winner should get Overeem if he can get back on time.

    • Maddawgmar

      I would say its like Cain getting KO’d in a min, them beating Bigfoot got him a shot. The thing is (IMO). There is a clog at the top. No clear number one challenger. So until someone sets themselves apart you’ll see this type of thing happen.

      • huntingmark

        This is mostly due to Carwin being injured, postponement of DC vs Mir, and Dana refusing to give Werdum due credit.

  • jay

    everyone is saying for JDS just to take Hunt down and submit him? 1) Hunt was on the ground for a good portion of the 2nd round (purposely, he scored a nice takedown), took side control, and when struve went for a sub, Hunt defended it, stood up and hit him with a nice combo for the submission attempt. As a KO kickboxing champ, Hunt has probably spent the bulk of the last 5 years, starting probably about 5 months, before the Mousasi fight working on his TD defense and his submission defense. Yes, McCorkle and Mousasi got him with the same submission, but the only other people to submit him – Fedor (GOAT), Yoshida (gold medal Judoka in Hunt’s first MMA fight) Barnett (Best HW catch wrestler, probably best catch wrestler in MMA period), and a steroided up Overeem whom Hunt actually took down before he was muscled into a submission. 2) In his last fight, JDS wanted absolutely nothing to do with full guard; not only did he not try for a submission, but he was eating tons of punches and making tons of “technical errors” in order to not be on his back. Hunt took struve down, Hunt took Overeem down; JDS has only taken Carwin down and he did it with 10 seconds left in the last round strictly to avoid a lucky haymaker. Smart decision to score an extra point and not take any unnecessary damage, but there is no way Carwin was even attempting to defend that. My point is, 90% of people are talking about this fighting like it’s Lesnar vs. Hunt. Hunt’s build, his strength, and his 40lb weight advantage combined with JDS’s clear lack of battle tested offensive wrestling, his speed (clear cut advantage), and unwillingness to fight anywhere other than in boxing range will nullify the wrestling aspect. Sure, if Hunt gets rocked and JDS takes his back, he won’t give up position to keep the fight on his feet (sounds funny, but you saw the way he finished Mir.He was about to let Mir stand up so he didn’t have to bend over to GnP the final shot), but this is going to be a classic case of rangy boxer vs. world class kickboxer and IMO the better chin is going to win. Hunt by KO. JDS has never fought anyone who hasn’t feared his power, and all Hunt needs is 1 shot. My guess: after establishing both their ranges, mid 1st round, Hunt surprises JDS by willingly eating a punch to land a punch that puts JDS to sleep.

    • MuayThaiFood

      Anyone who counts Hunt out in this hasn’t seen his second fight with Jerome Le Banner.

      • Cptmats

        That s*** was epic !

    • Cptmats

      All though his ground game has improved %1000 since his K-1 days but i still don’t think he is ready to roll with someone like Mir or Werdume and i doubt he would be able to stop Cains take downs.

      With that being said, Styles make fights and i can’t see JDS trying to take Hunt down and trying to Stand with him is a bad Idea for anyone !

    • Excellent read and well thought out, I agree with you.I’m not sure if you heard the Joe Rogan Show with Bas Rutten but when Bas found out that Junior was fighting Mark Hunt next he laughed and said oh my god! poor Junior. Enough said, Junior is more than likely in a lot of trouble and your pre-fight analysis is probably going to come to fruition.

      • Dave Stiles

        yeah Hunt is a K-1 fighter and has better stand up skills then JDS is fast and If JDS takes it to the ground maybe he has a chance. IDK JDS CAIN and HUNT are my fav HW so its tough to match them up but I see Hunt winning. Nog vs Werdum is gonna win Hunt VS Werdum. Werdum is gonna win. CAIN VS WERDUM CAIN by KO and where is Overiod fighting JDS after he loses…just my sloppy typing respect pc brothers and sisters.

  • I was hoping they would wait for Reem to get back. JDS vs Bigfoot would have been a nice fight as well. Hunts ground game is so far behind I couldn’t imagine how he would do against Cain. That Rothwell fight was horrible, they were both so gassed out.

  • Milos Rackovic

    JDs is gonna make hunt feel some real man punches standing up

    • Cptmats

      Yeh, cause all those world class strikers he beat in K-1 and pride were all actually just unskilled pussies !

    • huntingmark

      real man?

      you mean real animal.

  • robbiez

    Why does the UFC always forget about roy nelson??!?! last time i checked he was on a winning streak!

    • bajafox

      I like Roy Nelson v. JDS 2 but I think he’s fighting Kongo next

      • Tommy Blingshyne

        he is fighting kongo next and jds would maul him like he did the 1st time…no interest in a rematch at all…

    • Yeah. And he always bring on exciting fights, no matter if he finish or go the distance.

    • huntingmark

      Umm…he loses every time he faces a top 10 opponent. He has beaten guys like Pee Wee Herman….but that doesn’t mean anything.

      Roy lost to Werdum and Mir, and would lose to pretty much every top 10 fighter out there. That is his limit.

      Unless you are being facetious…………in which case YES ROY NELSON IS p4p the best.

    • Tommy Blingshyne

      bc roy has only proven to be a mid level type HW gatekeeper…anytime the UFC has given him a chance to step into the upper echelon of the HW division he has lost…jds mir and werdim all wrecked him…wins over herman, mitrione dont hold much weight on their own…he needs a big name win and so far hasnt been able to come up with one

  • JRod

    Cain has to get someone to fight against. As much as I’d like to make a case for someone else, there just aren’t any other strong fighters in a position to claim the spot. Unfortunately this makes the most sense for #1 Contender…
    I won’t complain, bc it should be a pretty good fight.

  • wackamole

    should be big country in there fighting for #1 contender spot.

    • huntingmark

      after his loss to Mir and Werdum….I don’t think so big mac boy.

    • Tommy Blingshyne

      no he absolutely should not…

  • Tommy Blingshyne

    “There’s a lot of different ways you can turn down a fight,” said White.

    aka Hunt never turned down the fight, he wanted his fair cut of the $ and the UFC initially didnt wanna pay him his due so its spun that Hunt turned down the fight…the UFC prob. wanted to pay him a measly 6k to show 6k to win and Hunt wanted legit co main event type $$$…so the UFC spins that as Hunt turned down the fight because he wanted loot…typical horse shit…i love that Hunt blew up the spot in turn causing White to backpeddle…in the end, the fans demanded this fight and got it…

  • Dave Stiles

    OK Hunt vs JDS winner fights the winner of Nog VS Werdum? the winner of those matches fights CAIN!!!