When former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem pulled out of his UFC 160 encounter against Junior dos Santos due to injury, the rally for Mark Hunt to get the open spot began.
UFC president Dana White quickly quashed that movement, stating Hunt (9-7-0, 6 KOs) didn’t want any part of dos Santos (15-2-0, 11 KOs).
The social media phenom’s zealous fans won the war, though, as White has now pulled another about-face — Hunt will indeed get to face the Brazilian at UFC 160. Hunt and White were able to reach an agreement over a phone call.
“I have never turned down a fight and even when I was injured I had to force myself not to fight your general fears no man but the almighty,” Hunt tweeted.
UFC 160 takes place on May 25, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Hunt and JDS will meet in the co-main event, while Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva fight for the heavyweight title in the headliner.
Hunt is coming off a win against Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV 8. The “Super Samoan” knocked out Struve with a vicious left hand that broke the Dutchman’s jaw during the third round of their encounter. With a win against dos Santos at UFC 160, it’ll be hard for anyone to deny Hunt a shot at the heavyweight title.
Getting past dos Santos won’t be easy though. The Brazilian’s skills make him one of the most dangerous fighters in the heavyweight division, with excellent boxing (at least by MMA standards) and solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu to go with it. Fortunately for Hunt, Junior does like to bang, so there’s a decent chance we won’t see much of his BJJ when the pair collide at UFC 160.
More than likely, an entertaining standup battle will break out inside the Octagon, increasing Hunt’s odds of emerging victorious. A dos Santos vs. Hunt bout isn’t as intriguing as the initial JDS vs. Overeem bout, but it’s a pretty darn good replacement.
Given the fact the UFC hasn’t exactly been giving title shots based on merit lately, it’s nice to see a deserving fighter get rewarded for his hard work inside the Octagon.