Mark Hunt may need a miracle.
While the heavyweight slugger didn't hesitate to accept an interim title fight against Fabricio Werdum in the UFC 180 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on Nov. 15 in Mexico, thanks to an untimely injury to reigning division kingpin Cain Velasquez, the 302-pound "Super Samoan" has just over three weeks to lose 37 pounds.
The good news is, he's already done it once before, after struggling with his extra baggage last month in Japan. But assuming he gets to where he needs to be, he still has to face one of the most decorated jiu-jitsu fighters in all of mixed martial arts (MMA).
Six of his eight losses have come by way of submission.
Hunt showed pretty good takedown defense in his last couple of fights, so heading to the canvas is hardly a foregone conclusion. Then again, Mexico City has an elevation of over 7,350 feet, which is roughly 2,000 feet higher than Denver, Colorado, a spot notorious for gassing even the most conditioned fighters.
That's why "Vai Cavalo" has already been
choking training there for several weeks.
"Only challenge is making weight," an optimistic Hunt told MMA Fighting, just before getting on a plane for Mexico. While he intends to "get in shape" and "acclimate to the environment," time is definitely not on his side. What is on his side, however, is the power to decapitate his opponents with one punch.
Besides, what would a Mark Hunt fight be without a few roadblocks along the way?