(Who the hell is this guy? I thought you said Mark Hunt was coming here.)
Former PRIDE and K-1 star Mark Hunt is taking his last kick at the can of his mixed martial arts career seriously as evidenced by the photo above. Not only has he transformed his body from its rotund former self, he has also joined American Top Team, where he will spend the last month of his training camp preparing for his September 25 UFC debut opposite former fellow super heavyweight, Sean McCorkle at UFC 119 in Indianapolis.
Hunt’s critics have always pointed to his lack of conditioning and the fact that he didn’t train with a top-tier team in his native New Zealand as the reasons why he never got past his role as gatekeeper in PRIDE. Even fights that Hunt was winning, he always seemed to find a way to lose, usually as a result of his lack of cardio or his lack of a ground game.
(THAT’S the Mark Hunt we remember)
Now it seems that he is taking the necessary precautions to ensure that his past weaknesses have been shored up, which should make for an exciting fight with 6’7" ground specialist, McCorkle, who has also gotten into tremendous shape of his own for the tilt and is reportedly already close to his pre-cut weight.
Hunt has one fight remaining as a carry-over from his PRIDE contract, which UFC president Dana White mentioned this weekend during the UFC 118 Fan Expo Q&A session, was the only one that Zuffa was obligated to honor from their purchase of the Japanese promotion.
0-5 in his last five outings against some of MMA’s best including Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi and Alistair Overeem, Hunt, who holds decision wins over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Wanderlei Silva hasn’t won since 2006. A win against McCorkle would do wonders to rejuvenate the durable kickboxer’s slumping MMA career and could earn him a contract extension with the UFC, which explains why he’s taking this fight so seriously.