Article

Mark Hunt - Aiming to Start a New Win Streak

“I’ve always thought I could win, otherwise I wouldn't do it.” - Mark Hunt
Even for the winner, most nightclub brawls aren’t the beginning of a path to glory.  A rare exception took place in (and outside) a club in Auckland, New Zealand, some 17 years ago when trouble found a young Mark Hunt, who fights Ben Rothwell at UFC 135 this Saturday.

“I was in a nightclub looking for my friend, and there were four guys kicking into him in a corner.  I went over to help him and I slipped up and they started kicking both of us (laughs), and then that’s how it started outside the night club,” said Hunt.

A bouncer who witnessed the fray was so impressed with how Hunt, now 37, handled himself that he suggested he take up Muay Thai training.

“The next week I was fighting in the ring.”

That bouncer had an eye for talent - Hunt went on to become a world kickboxing champion, winning the K-1 Grand Prix in 2001. In 2004, he made the switch to MMA and his early transition was promising, as it included decision wins over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships.

But in 2006, Hunt hit a rough patch - a six fight, five year losing streak, with five defeats coming by submission.  While he was only losing to the best in the sport (names like Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko), that statistic hung over Hunt’s future in the UFC. Finally, in February at UFC 127 he scored a dramatic second round knockout win over Chris Tuchscherer, staving off a submission attempt and reminding onlookers of the speed, accuracy and power in his hands.

Back in February, Hunt expressed frustration at his losing streak or taking a “long time between drinks,” as he put it.  Frustrated, yes, but Hunt says he never lost the faith.

“I’ve always thought I could win, otherwise I wouldn't do it.”

The performance of the “Super Samoan” has earned him the 24th of September match against Rothwell at Denver’s Pepsi Center.  Rothwell, an ex-IFL champion, hasn’t fought since June of 2010 due to an ACL injury. Initially, his name didn’t ring a bell for New Zealand-born Sydney-based Hunt, who is more MMA fighter than MMA aficionado.

“I don't really know much about him at all. To be honest, I didn't even know his name until I was offered the fight.”

Hunt has since done a little bit of study, but won’t be focusing too much on what Rothwell, who owns a 2007 win over UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson, has done to date.

“I have a little bit of (footage of) his fights and stuff but I think he's gonna be a different fighter altogether,” said Hunt.

That said, Mark Hunt is working on what has given him the most trouble historically: the ground game.  That’s wise against Rothwell, 29, who demonstrated that he’s willing and able to play the role of grappler in his last fight, a decision win over kickboxer Gilbert Yvel.

“I've been working on escapes and everything like that,” said Hunt, “Learning the little bits of technique you do need to escape from different positions, working a lot on little techniques and ways to escape.”

Diligently, Hunt left his home in Sydney, Australia early to properly acclimatize to the U.S. and train with some of the best camps in the world.  

“I’ve been with the America Top Team guys (for the last four weeks)” said Hunt “Now I’m gonna train with Jamie (Te Huna).”

But diligent preparation requires sacrifice, physical and otherwise. Hunt concedes that it isn’t easy spending so much time away from the comforts of home and family.

“I always miss my family. In Japan I only had to go for a week out of the fight, just train and then go home” said Hunt. “But I have to come here and get acclimatized and everything like that; it took me thirty hours to get here and see Fort Lauderdale, maybe a week or two to acclimatize -- about 3 days with no sleep, it was crazy.  I do miss my family a lot”.

But for Hunt, it’s worth it to win.  And what about that other effect of a hard training camp; the elusive six-pack?

“They're here, they're right here, underneath all that you know. (laughs)”

Watch Past Fights

일요일, 5월 8
Rotterdam, Netherlands

미디어

최근
플라이급 최고의 스피드와 정확도를 자랑하는 쿄치 호리구치. 체급 내에서 가장 흥미진진한 경기를 선보이는 선수이기도 하다. 호리구치는 UFN 로테르담 대회에서 닐 시리를 상대로 UFC 파이트패스 대진의 마지막을 장식한다.
2016. 5. 4
군나르 넬슨은 자신의 고국에 대한 자부심을 지니고 있다. 자신의 뿌리, 아이슬란드에 대한 자부심이 오늘날의 군나르 넬슨을 만들어냈다. 넬슨은 UFN 로테르담 대회 메인카드에서 알베르트 투메노프를 상대한다.
2016. 5. 4
UFC 헤비급 안드레이 알롭스키는 일요일 UFN 로테르담 대회에서 알리스타 오브레임에게 KO승을 노린다. 알롭스키가 이번 매치업에 대해서 이야기한다. 본 대결은 로테르담 대회의 메인이벤트며 폭스스포츠 1 채널을 통해 일요일 중계된다.
2016. 5. 4
마우리시오 쇼군은 UFN 브리즈번 대회에서 전광석화같은 타격으로 제임스 테 후나를 쓰러드린다. 쇼군은 5월 14일 UFC 198 대회에서 코리 앤더슨을 상대한다.
2016. 5. 4