Stipe Miocic (above) staged a one-sided beating of Mark Hunt. | File photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
As each round passed and Stipe Miocic continued to unload on Mark Hunt in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night headliner, the MMA community seemed to reach a general consensus:
Somebody, whether it be the referee, the cageside physician or even Hunt’s corner, needed to stop the fight. That included UFC President Dana White, who expressed his sentiments in typical fashion via Twitter.
Now it needs to be stopped— Dana White (@danawhite) May 10, 2015
WOW!!!! Dr let it go!!!? WOW— Dana White (@danawhite) May 10, 2015
Tom Wright, the UFC’s Managing Director of Operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, echoed White’s sentiments at Saturday’s post-fight press conference, albeit in a more reserved manner.
“I’m not a referee, but from my perspective I think they probably could have stopped it earlier,” he said. “But in the end, I’m not standing right on top of these two guys. Mark Hunt is as tough as they come and Stipe obviously demonstrated his skills. It is what it is; you can’t change it now. We’ll just move forward.”
While Hunt’s face visibly wore the damage from the pounding he took, even a conference with the cageside physician and his corner after the fourth round did not deter the former Pride Fighting Championships veteran from continuing.
Finally, Miocic forced referee John Sharp’s hand with one last volley of ground-and-pound in the final frame, bringing a halt to the heavyweight contest 2:47 into the period. By the end of it all, Hunt had absorbed a UFC-record 361 total strikes in what will surely rank as one of 2015’s most thorough beatdowns.
Hunt might very well be too tough for his own good, which is why Miocic was unrelenting in his assault on the popular Kiwi fighter. The Strong Style Fight Team representative had his share of success on the feet, but it was on the canvas where he truly began to assert his will as the bout progressed.
“I was fine standing up with him too. I feel like I was teeing off on him when I wanted to,” Miocic said. “He’s got good hands; he’s got a good left hook. I wasn’t fazed at all. The minute I took him down I realized it wasn’t hard to take him down, so why not? I was watching the clock, taking my time. I wasn’t trying to punch myself out. I got some good punches on him too. I can’t make everyone happy, but guess what: I got the W and that’s all I care about.”
And as far as the stoppage coming later than it should have? Miocic said he wasn’t going to let up as long as Hunt continued to hang around and the clock was still running.
“I just saw that I was winning, and I was going to keep going forward until they stopped the fight or I got the decision. I didn’t care,” he said. “Of course I was looking for the finish, there’s no question. I feel like I could have got it [in the earlier rounds], but he’s a tough guy. That’s why they let it go probably longer than it [should], but I was going to keep digging in and digging in and finally they stopped it – which was fine. I was hitting him with some good shots.”
It was a strong showing for Miocic, who suffered a hard-fought loss to Junior dos Santos in his previous outing at UFC on Fox 13 in December. Considering the dearth of contenders at heavyweight, the Ohio native might not be too far away from a title shot. At the very least, Miocic’s name will likely be mentioned as a possible challenger after Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum square off for heavyweight gold at UFC 188 on June 13.
“I really want a shot. I beat the fifth-ranked guy. I dominated him pretty well. The decision is the UFC’s, but I do want it. I would love to have it,” he said.