UFC 144 Results: Mark Hunt's Improbable Rise To Contention In The UFC

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.

The 37-year-old Mark Hunt racked up his third straight UFC win with a knock out of Cheick Kongo last night at UFC 144 in Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. That improves Hunt's UFC record to 3-1 and wins over Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Chris Tuchscherer put Hunt firmly in the upper-half of the promotion's heavyweight division.

The win also improves Hunt's overall professional MMA record to 8-7, getting him back on the winning side for the first time since 2009. It's not every fighter who comes to the UFC following a 5 fight losing streak. Even rarer is the fighter that comes to the UFC on a 5 fight losing streak, loses his debut to Sean McCorkle (since cut by the organization) and gets another chance.

While you can't argue that Hunt hasn't earned his place in the organization, it's no secret that he got his first and second chances with the promotion strictly due to his skilled legal representation. Hunt had been under contract with the ill-fated Pride Fighting Championships when the UFC bought out that fading promotion. Unlike many of the Pride fighters, apparently Hunt had an iron-clad guarantee of at least two more fights in his contract. It took the UFC a couple of years to finally concede that they had to honor that agreement and initially it looked like it forced some of the most embarrassing matchmaking in the promotion's history.

Hunt's improbably come back run has erased all those doubts. His dramatic KO wins over Tuchscherer and Kongo as well as his dominating decision win over Rothwell have him suddenly looking like a serious threat to anyone in the division, if not quite a contender.

SBN coverage of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

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