By Kaleb Page
In the sport world no matter what the venue, there comes along a story, team or player that we look to as an underdog and pull for. This Saturday night at UFC 180 the story of an underdog begins another chapter.
Mark Hunt, also known as the “Super Samoan,” stands at 5’10” and weighs in at 265 lbs. For a man his height to be in the heavyweight division, it makes him undersized when you look at some of the giants in the division standing from 6’3″ to 6’4″ (even one fighter at 6’11”). However, Hunt has shown time and time again he is not afraid to step in and mix it up with those who are much larger. Also at the age of 40, Hunt is at the end of the road or at least getting there because MMA is evolving and as time passes it shows how much of a “young man’s” game it truly is.
Prior to becoming a UFC fighter, Hunt was a member of PRIDE a very famous fight league in Japan that was eventually bought out by the UFC. In Pride fights Hunt was recognized as a huge force with undeniable power in either hand. Even though he was almost uncontrollable with his power, people found a way around it by getting him on the ground and neutralizing his power. After going on a streak of winning five fights the big man went cold.
Coming into the UFC Hunt found himself on the losing end of six consecutive fights all in convincing fashion either by KO/TKO or Submission. In an interview with news.com.au, UFC President Dana White said that after the buyout he really didn’t want to bring Hunt along. Even going as far to pay Hunt the money left on his contract just to walk away. Since then Hunt has proven him wrong leaving White to say, “I’ll never count Mark Hunt out ever again.”
Since the days of doubt Hunt has posted a record of 5 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw; including a streak of four wins. In nearly all of those fights Hunt was the underdog, since he is old and people doubt his ability anymore. Yet who has risen to the occasion winning those fights and doing it in convincing fashion (4 of the 5 wins by KO/TKO): Mark Hunt. Even though he has proven a lot of doubters wrong as his career starts to come to an end, there still is another task to complete.
UFC 180 this Saturday was supposed to be a huge heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City, Mexico. With Velasquez falling victim to a knee injury the UFC needed a short notice replacement, and the underdog answered the call. Facing Werdum could be the biggest challenge that Hunt has had, mainly because Werdum is possibly the best heavyweight submission artist ever to step in the octagon. As mentioned before the ground game is one that Hunt had trouble with, so if he plans to escape with another underdog win he might want to stay out of Werdum’s world.
On Bleacher Report and the news.com.au websites they cover this story very well and give how this story is one that any underdog lover should pay attention to. This is something I wish bigger outlets like ESPN would do more of; instead of looking to the traditional sports for underdogs, they can look to MMA or other non-traditional sports just as easily to find inspirational underdog stories.
On Saturday possibly one of the biggest underdog stories and upsets could happen in the UFC. If Hunt does get the win, he will be the interim heavyweight champion and next in line to face the champion Cain Velasquez. As a fan of the sport and someone who watches UFC events, I hope Hunt can continue the dream and get to the title fight. Either way, Hunt should be proud of where he has come from at such a late stage in his career and know he did it his way.
Saturday night take a break from the college football madness and take a look at what will happen in this fight. I know I will, and I will be rooting for the underdog.