Roller Coaster Career Hits High Mark for Hunt

Written by Tom Ngo
September 20th, 2014

UFC Mark Hunt

It took this mixed martial artist exactly 10 years and two months to collect his 10th professional victory. Who is Mark Hunt (pictured)?

If this were MMA Jeopardy, Hunt would stump most fans trying to figure out the question.

It’s hard to believe someone as popular and respected as Hunt owns a meager 10-8-1 résumé.

The slugger finally notched double-digits in the win column with his highlight reel knockout of Roy Nelson Saturday at UFC Fight Night 52. The vicious uppercut sent ripples throughout the MMA community.

Hunt, whose official nickname is “The Super Samoan” but unofficially likes to be known as “The KFC King,” is perhaps the game’s biggest enigma. How can someone so burly own such lightning-quick hands?

What’s even more puzzling, how it is possible for someone possessing such a unique package have just 10 wins in as many years?

It’s simple. Sometimes it’s more about who you’ve fought than who you’ve beaten.

Hunt’s MMA career started with a submission loss to Hidehiko Yoshida in June of 2004. He then rattled off five straight wins for PRIDE FC during the promotion’s heyday.

He collected notable victories over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, two of PRIDE’s baddest dudes, during that stretch.

Hunt subsequently dropped his next five fights. However, Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Melvin Manhoef and Gegard Mousasi are far from cans.

The UFC eventually acquired PRIDE and its fighter contracts. UFC president Dana White offered to simply pay Hunt off and let him go on his merry way, but the veteran refused to accept money he hadn’t earned.

Hunt proceeded to get submitted by Sean McCorkle in his UFC debut. It’s apropos when examining Hunt’s career as a whole.

That marked Hunt’s sixth straight loss. Many wondered if it was a blunder not to pocket White’s payout when he had the chance.

Instead, Hunt put his big boy board shorts on and embarked on a four-fight winning streak. He disposed of three of those victims via some form of knockout to earn a crack at former champion Junior dos Santos.

JDS put Hunt out to pasture, but that was expected. They’re at different stages in their careers, with JDS regarded as the division’s best behind only reigning champ Cain Velasquez.

Hunt’s cult-like following skyrocketed with his instant classic with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in his next outing. Last December’s shootout, which resulted in a majority draw, is considered by many as the best 265-pound scrap the octagon has ever hosted.

It was later revealed Hunt was battling an already oversized man who was illegally jacked up on testosterone, which only ballooned Hunt’s legendary status.

Now 40, Hunt is not only fending off Father Time but plastering the likes of Roy Nelson, someone who hasn’t been finished in 11 UFC fights.

What’s next for “The KFC King”? Outside the cage, probably a 12 piece meal with extra gravy. Inside the cage, likely another opponent that will only build his lore – win, lose or draw.

Don’t forget to follow @5thRound on Twitter, Facebook and Google+!