It’s a match-up that fans have wanted to see for years, and Nelson is surprised the two hadn’t been matched up before now
“I respect Mark a lot, he’s got huge power and a great chin, and next to a title fight, this is the most exciting fight there is for me,” said Nelson earlier this week. “I know the fans have been calling for this one for a long time. I’m actually surprised we haven’t fought already, but it is happening now and I’m almost as excited as the fans are for this.”
Nelson is an accomplished grappler. He holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Hunt is a K-1 kickboxing champion. On paper, it may seem like Nelson would want to take the fight to the ground. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Yeah, I can wrestle, I can use submissions, but if I am honest I’m only interested in having a war with Mark and knocking him out,” said the 38-year-old American. “I haven’t done that (go in with a submission-based game plan) in eight, nine years. I prefer to knock people out.
“Mark has power and a good chin, too, so why would I want to make this a technical fight? The two big guys are going to throw punches – and let’s see what happens. What’s more exciting than that,” he added.
Hunt has competed in Japan several times throughout his kickboxing and mixed martial arts careers. He has a strong fan base in Japan, but Nelson doesn’t think any of that matters once the Octagon door closes on the two at the Saitama Super Arena on Saturday.
“Yeah, Hunt has a lot of fans here in Japan and probably knows a few people and places where he can get good food, things like that, but I just fought Big Nog (Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira) in Abu Dhabi and he literally had his own gym out there, he had a place to stay, and once the fight started none of that mattered. I still knocked him out.”