If one of the two headlining heavyweights from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 110 headliner was going to call it a career, it would only seem natural that it would have been the 43-year-old Mark Hunt.
Combine advanced age and years of slugfests with an ongoing feud against the UFC over its drug testing methods, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise to have seen “The Super Samoan” ride off into the sunset following a win in his home country. Even the man himself admitted that it wasn’t the worst idea in the immediate aftermath of his fourth-round technical knockout triumph over Derrick Lewis at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Instead, it was Lewis who announced that Saturday was likely his last Octagon appearance.
“If this fight had been my last, it would’ve been perfect to end here in Auckland but it looks like we will still have time left,” Hunt said in the Octagon. “I want big fights against top opponents. I only have a few fights left so I want to go for anyone above me.”
The key part of that statement, however, is that Hunt still has fights left. He reiterated that point during Saturday’s post-fight press conference. Even with an ongoing lawsuit against the Las Vegas-based promotion, Hunt plans to keep plugging away, for two or three more fights at least. Had he lost against Lewis, Hunt still doesn’t believe he would have hung up his four-ounce gloves.
“I don’t think so. I love to compete…But I’ve got a couple fights to finish on my contract and that’s it,” he said. “Why not see the contract out and then retire.”
As it stands, Hunt still seems to have plenty left in the tank. He outlasted the 32-year-old Lewis, who entered with the longest active winning streak in the heavyweight division, and finished his fading opponent with elbows and punches near the fence in round four — much later than most anticipated.
“I give props to Derrick because he came to fight,” Hunt said on Fox Sports 1. “He’s not a cheater, and all I wanted was to have an even playing field. I give him respect.”
Hunt acknowledged that he expected to be able to wear down “The Black Beast” as the bout progressed.
“I was just trying to work it out. it took a bit of time,” he said. “Derrick’s tough; I’m tougher. It was just a matter of time. I got the win and I’m pleased with it.”
While Hunt isn’t especially picky when it comes to his next opponent, he did show interest in rematches against Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem. Hunt lost to dos Santos via third-round KO at UFC 160 and has fallen to Overeem twice — once under the Dream banner and again at UFC 209. Regardless of what awaits, Hunt doesn’t plan on following Lewis’ lead just yet.
“I’m not slurring my speech yet. You can’t kill me yet. The old dog is still going,” he said.