"E toa e le loto, a e pa le noo. (Strong in heart, but broken in the back. Of a man whose will is stronger than his body.) - A Samoan proverb
Mark Hunt will fight Junior Dos Santos in a title eliminator at UFC 160 in Las Vegas, Saturday.
Let me repeat, Mark Hunt will vie for a chance at a heavyweight title fight, Saturday.
That's right, the Mark Hunt.
The one who in 2010 boasted a record of five wins and seven losses. The fighter who in September of that same year lost to Sean McCorkle, a veritable no-name, extending his losing streak to six. A man who was one of the only mixed martial artists who was asked by UFC officials to accept a sum of money instead of a contract.
Everyone had all but given up on the "Super Samoan."
But, then came a walk-off knockout win over Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 127 and a unanimous decision victory over Ben Rothwell at UFC 135.
Fans and critics reveled in the flash of Hunt's former striking ability, but largely believed his career was still on the decline.
And, then Hunt knocked out Cheick Kongo.
The MMA community seemed torn between lauding his efforts and scratching their heads. It wasn't so much the finishing punch Hunt delivered to Kongo at UFC 144, it was the manner in which he fought. Hunt appeared to have drastically honed his head and foot movement at the age of 38.
Was there was something left in the former K-1 Grand Prix champion? Or were the MMA gods giving the world one last show?
Those questions seemed to be answered at UFC on Fuel TV 8, when Hunt knocked outStefan Struve with a left hook in the third round.
The winning streak, now at four, took on mythical qualities.
Fans and critics, alike, begged Dana White and the UFC for him to get a title shot. Videos were made. Articles were published. A hashtag (#rallyformarkhunt) was born.
So here we are, days away from the biggest fight in Hunt's career, and it only seems right for the MMA gods to pull off yet another miracle. Another shock. Another knockout. The MMA community wants it and, above all, Hunt deserves it.
But perhaps Hunt won't conjure the spirits of MMA. Maybe he won't need them. Maybe he can win on his own.
Because, in essence, there is no such thing as MMA gods. There never was.
There is just a man with a dream and an undying will to live it.