Mark Hunt’s Possible Next Fight

Mark Hunt, the 39 year old Sydney-based MMA fighter was well on his way to a possible title shot in the UFC Heavyweight division, but a recent KO loss to Junior Dos Santos has derailed his title ambitions for now. We look at who he could potentially be fighting next.

Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt, the giant Australian-based, New Zealand-born mixed martial arts fighter, was touted by much of the MMA press as being a potential contender for a title shot against Cain Velasquez, after his impressive streak of four consecutive victories against Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchscherer. His loss at UFC 160 to Junior Dos Santos has set him back somewhat, although he still managed to impress in that fight, providing an equal match for JDS for the first two rounds and holding his own until the third round, landing some vicious shots and bowing out only to an ambitious spinning wheel kick that completely floored him. Junior Dos Santos said of Mark Hunt after the fight, “He hits very hard, I respect that guy a lot.”

Unfortunately for Hunt, he broke his big toe in that fight, recently announcing the toe was fractured and required 6 stitches to seal up, leaving him on the sidelines for as as yet unknown period of time.

In the meantime, we can speculate as to who his next opponent might be. While Dos Santos will almost certainly head into a much-awaited third rematch with current heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, the options are less clear for Hunt. An already thin division means his options aren’t huge in number, but the fight most enthusiastically suggested amongst the fans is a bout against Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson, who himself is fresh off a knockout victory against Cheick Kongo at UFC 159.

They are both heavy handed sluggers and it would certainly be intriguing to see how Hunt’s lethal and highly technical striking power would match up against Nelson’s brute force and chin of steel. On the other hand, it could be argued that Roy Nelson’s superior grappling and wrestling skills might prove too much for Hunt, who’s been defeated via first round submission six times in his career and has a known weakness on the ground. His grappling game has noticeably improved of late, though, evidenced by his recent victory against Stefan Struve in which he escaped several bad positions on the ground and went on to win the fight.

If it’s not Nelson next on the agenda for Mark Hunt, other options suggested are Travis Browne or Alistair Overeem – who are scheduled to fight each other later this year in August.

Other options include Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, himself coming off another brutal defeat against Cain Velasquez and whose title ambitions look over for now, or Pat Barry, the New Orleans native, who is first scheduled to fight Shawn Jordan on June 15, 2013 at UFC 161. Barry versus Hunt would be an intriguing matchup indeed as both are expert kickboxers, with Hunt being a former winner of the prestigious K-1 kickboxing tournament and Pat Barry being a noted K-1 veteran of many years.

Who would you like to see as Mark Hunt’s next opponent after he recovers from his toe injury? At 39, he probably doesn’t have too many years left at the top level, so he’s got to make it count. We think he’s still got a decent chance of getting a title shot, provided he gets his winning streak back on track, but it all depends on how the next few fights go. We will wait and see with baited breath.

photo credit: nipotan via photopin cc

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