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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Mark Hunt after fulfilling UFC contract in Adelaide?

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Fight Night 142 blew the roof off Adelaide Entertainment Center last Saturday (Dec. 1, 2018) in Adelaide, Australia.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Tai Tuivasa, who suffered the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career after being stopped by Junior dos Santos (see it again here). And Tyson Pedro, who was finished by Mauricio Rua in an entertaining Light Heavyweight affair (video).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?

Mark Hunt.

Going into his fight against Justin Willis, “Super Samoan” was very open about the fact that he did not intend to re-sign with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after Saturday, which would be the last fight of his current deal. It’s no secret Hunt has enjoyed a love-hate relationship with the promotion over the years, calling out UFC for its favoritism of “cheater” Brock Lesnar. In fact, Hunt is currently involved in a legal battle with the promotion, which you can read about here.

Still, Hunt had a memorable run inside the Octagon, one that wasn’t supposed to happen. After absorbing his old contract, UFC tried to buy out “Super Samoan” by paying him some hefty coin sending him on his way. Instead, Mark decided to earn his keep by agreeing to a contract with the promotion. After he flopped in his debut against Sean McCorkle, getting submitted in the very first round to suffer his sixth straight loss, many felt “Super Samoan” had made the wrong choice.

Instead, Hunt dusted himself off and proceeded to go on a feel-good Cinderella run by winning four in a row including memorable knockout wins over Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve. That streak got people talking about a potential title shot, which he would’ve earned had he defeated Junior dos Santos to collect his fifth in a row. But, after “Cigano” knocked him out, his UFC championship dreams were dashed.

From there, Hunt went on to fight 12 more times inside the eight-sided cage, racking up a 4-6-1-1 record which included a no-contest and a draw sandwiched in between. After Brock Lesnar failed a couple of drug tests following his win over Hunt at UFC 200, Mark and UFC’s relationship began to crumble beyond repair.

Hunt will end his UFC career on three straight defeats, including his unanimous decision loss to Willis. Still, Hunt left his mark inside the cage, leaving behind a highlight reel of destruction along the way. Through it all, Mark was must-see TV and though last Saturday night’s fight wasn’t the most exciting of his career, for the most part, Mark didn’t disappoint once the door slammed shut win, lose, or draw.

Now that he’s free and clear to shop around for a new promotion, he does have options.

Among them is a move over to Bellator MMA who has a legit stable of big men to entice the power-punching Heavyweight. He can always go overseas and fight for RIZIN in Japan where Hunt still has a massive following stemming from his PRIDE FC days. And, there is always ONE Championship, who has been busy making major moves over the last few months. Examples here, here, and here.

Where Hunt ends up is anyone’s guess. Care to offer up your preference?

For complete UFC Fight Night 142 results, including play-by-play, click here