Mark Hunt has the opportunity of a lifetime next Saturday night when he steps foot inside the Octagon to meet Fabricio Werdum for the interim UFC heavyweight title.
The two will collide in the main event of UFC 180 from Mexico, and Hunt has gotten himself situated in the country for the past several days to prepare for battle.
After finishing Roy Nelson earlier this year, officials tabbed “The Super Samoan” to replace Cain Velasquez in the headline bout. He strung together a four-fight win streak from 2011-13 before falling to Junior dos Santos and scoring a draw with Antonio Silva.
Now, matched up with Werdum, Hunt told Submission Radio out of Australia recently that he has the exact answer to Werdum’s excellent ground game.
“Everyone’s a world-class ground fighter until they get a punch in the face,” he said. “That’s hod I deal with all these ground fighters. I hit’em in the head and there goes your (expletive) black belt.
“His game will be to push the pace and try to get me tired, to try and shoot the takedown, so I’m on the ground. If he tries to stand and bang, then good for me. If he doesn’t then he’s gotta work his game plan.”
Prior to the Nelson bout, rumors were circulating that Hunt would not make the heavyweight limit to weigh-in. He says there will be no issues with that this time around, as reason for his decision to get to Mexico early.
“I’ve got no excuse about not making weight,” he said. “Even 10-and-a-half kilos. I gotta talk to (UFC president) Dana (White) about a few things, but if you can’t make weight, don’t take the fight. We’ll just chew an arm off. I’ve got a lot of weight on me I can lose.
“I’m making weight so there’s no problem.”
He expanded on the weight-cut surrounding the Nelson bout, stating it was “my third weight cut ever. I’m just starting to get used to how this all works.
“I’m a fat guy with a lot of fat on me, so it’s easy for me to lose it,” he added. “I’m getting used to these things. I know how far I’m at and what I can cut, so I think the media exaggerates a bit about certain things.”
After going from almost being out of the UFC to a title shot, Hunt isn’t surprised by his string of excellent performances. He holds just an overall record of 10-8-1, but is 5-1-1 in his last seven.
“Well it’s no surprise to me. Like I said before, I always felt like I was the best fighter on the planet and I think this is just another example of what I’m saying is right,” he said. “This is for the No. 1 spot to fight the champ. I mean I do feel Fabricio Werdum would be upset about it, and I would be upset about it too if I had my shot at the world champ and then had to step back to fight someone else. It’s my opportunity regardless, and hey, I’m taking my opportunity and that’s it. That’s all I’m interested in doing.”