Mark Hunt turns 40 this week. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Few fighters have captured the imagination quite like Mark Hunt, whose soft physique and devastating punching power have made him something of a cult hero in mixed martial arts circles. “The Super Samoan” will celebrate his 40th birthday on March 23.
Hunt entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship in September 2010 as little more than a Pride Fighting Championships afterthought. The 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner debuted with a sixth consecutive defeat, as he submitted to a Sean McCorkle straight armbar at UFC 113. Though most believed his best days were behind him, Hunt proceeded to piece together an improbable four-fight winning streak, toppling Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve in succession to become the unlikeliest of contenders in the heavyweight division.
Junior dos Santos halted his run with a spinning hook kick in their title eliminator at UFC 160, but Hunt was not dissuaded. The New Zealand native fought again at UFC Fight Night 33 in December some seven months later, when he engaged in an epic five-round war with Antonio Silva and battled the monstrous Brazilian to a majority draw at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Silva soiled the “Fight of the Year” nominee by failing his post-fight drug test, but Hunt had proven he still belongs in the cage with the heavyweight division’s elite.
Those in MMA celebrating a birthday during the week covering March 23-March 29:
MARCH 23Mark Hunt (40)
MARCH 24Josh Neer (31)
MARCH 25Rory Markham (32)
Besam Yousef (29)
MARCH 26Bor Bratovz (32)
MARCH 27Nuri Shakir (35)
Indalecio Tat Romero (34)
Matt Jaggers (29)
MARCH 28Jake Ellenberger (29)
MARCH 29Donald Cerrone (31)
Stephen Eakin (31)
Chase Beebe (29)
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