Aussies UFC star Mark Hunt takes on the world.

Mark Hunt: The Walk-Off King Weighs In

We met up with Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt to chat about his life in and outside of the Octagon. Also known as the “walk-off king” and dubbed by some as the hardest hitter in the world, Hunt, 42, has become an Ultimate Fighting Championship sensation for his powerful striking ability. After three successive victories, all by devastating knock-out, Hunt will be one to watch this year as he aims to take out the heavyweight title. If he achieves this incredible feat, he will be the first Oceanic UFC title holder.

How did you start fighting?

I was in altercation outside a night club when I was 18 and the bouncer saved me from being arrested — (He’s being modest, he knocked out multiple people — Ed.). My first fight was four days later in a Muay Thai boxing ring. And as the saying goes — the rest is history.

What would you be doing if you weren’t fighting?

I would probably be back in jail. I’ve been in jail twice and I can’t hide this — it’s in my book and I’ve spoken pretty freely about everything. I was on a bad path as a kid and fighting actually saved my life. Because confrontation is what I do. I had no education, I had my second stint in jail at 21 — I was going back there for sure.

How did you get the nickname “Super Samoan”?

I’m a big gamer and cartoon fan and I spent about 10 years fighting in Japan and there’s a program called “Dragon Ball Z” — I used to love it — and [in that cartoon] the main characters were called Super Saiyans. They started nicknaming me Super Samoan — because of my heritage — and because I used to love watching that cartoon. When the Super Saiyans would fight, their hair would go white and they would charge up and get super powers — and that’s my little gimmick.

Speaking to someone who has never been inside a ring, can you explain to me what it’s like to step inside the ring and fight?

I feel free in the Octagon, I don’t have any hassles in my mind, I don’t worry about anything I have to do but work. I probably couldn’t get into a race car and drive around a track as quick as some of those guys, or ride a horse, but there’s people who are made to do that — just like I’m made to fight. I feel that God has blessed me with a gift — to fight, to take punishment. It’s kind of a funny thing to say that — but that’s just the way it is.

“I was on a bad path as a kid and fighting actually saved my life.”

How does your faith influence the life and fighting of Mark Hunt?

A lot, of course — God doesn’t make mistakes. He made my parents the way they were towards me so that I am the man I am now. I mean, people laugh about it, but that’s just the way I see it — I don’t really care what anyone thinks about me, regardless. I’m just doing what I’m doing and living my life the best I can. I mean the UFC was a company in which I wasn’t even wanted. Now seven or eight years on, I’m talking to Dana (White, president of the UFC — Ed.) about a new contract just this morning, so — go figure that one out.

Speaking of which — you were offered $450,000 by Dana White to retire–what kept you around?

You should ask Dana that question (laughs), I can’t speak on behalf of Dana. It’s not a question you should ask me, it’s a question you should ask Dana. Ask him – he’ll tell you (laughs).

What do you say to people who want to get into fighting?

I’ve been fighting for 20 years at the top of two different sports — first at kickboxing and now mixed martial arts. What you must understand first: is it something that you want to do? Something you need to do? Because the circle does not go into the square hole. It’s like Yoda said — you either do or you don’t — there is no try. This is the hurt business — so you’ll get hurt if you’re in half a mind about it.

What do you think about retirement?

Man, I’ve had the most punches in the head in UFC history — but look at me. I’m still talking to you well — I may not be able to remember a lot of shit (laughs) — but I love fighting. I still love competing and getting that rush. Like I said, I was just talking to Dana this morning about a new contract — I think I’ll be the world champion at the end of this year — I think I’ll be the best fighter on the planet again, if I get the opportunity.

Frank Mir recently said that you were the hardest hitter the UFC. That must feel good.

I don’t know — I think it’s probably because he didn’t see it coming — they’re always the ones that get you. He was too busy ducking his head the other way. It’s the same for him, had he caught me doing something, he would have snapped it off — without even a second thought. So I got him before he got me (laughs) — kudos to that.

Mark Hunt has become well-known as the walk-off king. Why don’t you jump on your opponents when they hit the ground?

To be honest, I could see Frank was done. It’s like when I hit Struve — I knew he was done. I mean he had a broken jaw — I didn’t know that at the time — and had I gone back for him again, he would have had no jaw. I know it’s the hurt business — but when he’s done, he’s done.

“Had I gone back for him again, he would have had no jaw. I know it’s the hurt business–but when he’s done, he’s done.”

How do you know when someone is “done”?

If I hit someone who’s not trying to grab me and drag me down — he’s done. That’s kind of pretty easy, right? When I hit someone and they’re just staring — like when I hit Frank, I moved to the side and he was still looking forward — and that was it.

In 2014 you accepted an interim title fight on short notice and dominated, but ended up losing. Do you regret not jumping on Fabricio Werdum to finish the job?

No, I don’t regret it — I made a decision not to jump on him. Sometimes he’s kind of crafty, trying to bait you into his grappling game. I didn’t want go there — that’s his world. I don’t mind playing in it, but when you haven’t had a fight camp and only three and half weeks of weight loss, there’s no way you should play around on the ground like that. But if we fought again — there’s no way he’d beat me — there’s no way none of those guys would beat me. If we had a rematch they’re all going to get knocked out.

Heavyweight Champion Mark Hunt has a pretty nice ring to it–how long has it been your dream to be #1 in the UFC?

Ever since I wasn’t wanted (laughs). You can’t tell me I’m not good enough — I was told that my whole life as a kid. What’s really annoying is he’s [Dana White] telling the whole world this — that you’re a shit fighter and you’re not worth it. Now, I don’t blame him — because of my record at the time — I had lost five in a row and I don’t think anyone wanted me. That’s what gets me upset. That’s how I got my fire back and I thank Dana for doubting me — because I’m nearly there.

What’s the next move for Mark Hunt? What’s in store for life after the fighting?

I’m glad you asked that actually. We are starting a thing called MMA Academy — what happens is that only 2-5% of the top fighters ever make a living out of it — but for the others, they fall off to the wayside. So with MMA Academy we want to introduce a program that helps fighters get diplomas so that they can work in other areas of fighting.

You recently released a biography (“Born to Fight”) detailing the story of your life. You had some pretty difficult moments–what advice would you have for people going through hardships?

The book I released, “Born to Fight” — I didn’t do it for money. My publisher got me to agree by telling me: “you can help other with their journey.” My struggles, I never thought were bad — but I knew they were kind of crazy. if people can read the book, they can realise that life isn’t really that bad at all. They’ve got food in their stomach, roof over their heads — or they’re working towards it. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel — doesn’t matter how bad it gets. With depression — some people take the route of killing themselves — my brother killed himself just under a year ago because he was so depressed. But if you reach out — there’s always someone to give you a hand, doesn’t matter what situation it is.

Naturally we had to make Born to Fight easy to find, but we should probably also let folks know that Mark Hunt continued to fight, even up to age 49 last we could find. His life out of the ring has been as tumultuous as the one inside — albeit with fewer broken jaws, we hope — as the spirit of the man continues to shine. He may not have won the legal fight with UFC, but he succeeded in opening some eyes.

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