By Jonathan Solomon
All it took was a phone call between Mark Hunt and UFC president Dana White Thursday night.
Now, “The Super Samoan” will officially fight former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in the co-main event of UFC 160 on May 25 according to MMAFighting.com.
It’s been a weird week in this saga which began when Alistair Overeem withdrew from the scheduled fight with JDS due to a slight quadriceps tear. Initially, Hunt said he would accept the fight if offered and egged his supporters on Twitter to contact White and join his effort to help him get the fight.
However, White said the Overeem vs. JDS bout was postponed until the summer and offered up the peculiar word that Hunt declined the fight. Mark was quick to deny ever turning down the opportunity and after a direct phone call with the boss, all the confusion was settled.
The New Zealand native is no stranger to big fights in mixed martial arts. In Pride, he defeated Wanderlei Silva and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filiopvic and lost his final bouts in the organization to Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.
What’s so unexpected about this current run in the career of the soon-to-be 39-year-old Hunt is the fact that between the summer of 2006 and 2009, he went 0-5. Nevertheless, he was given a fight with the UFC to honor his Pride contract (more than three years after they bought the Japanese promotion) and lost in 63 seconds by submission to Sean McCorkle.
Still, Hunt was provided with another chance and he made the most of it, knocking out Chris Tuchscherer in Australia at UFC 127. After a decision win over Ben Rothwell, he defeated both Cheick Kongo and most recently, Stefan Struve by TKO. Now, if he can manage to prolong his winning streak and upset Junior dos Santos, he may be in the position to challenge the UFC heavyweight champion later this year.
JDS will look to stop Hunt and earn a rematch with champion Cain Velasquez after their fight last December, the Brazilian’s only defeat in the octagon.
UFC 160 on May 25 in Las Vegas features a main event of heavyweight champ Velasquez defending against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and a co-main of dos Santos against Mark Hunt.
What are your thoughts?