With UFC 180 in the books, one of the big questions (outside of when we’ll see champion Cain Velasquez meet newly crowned interim champ Fabricio Werdum) that has arisen is this: what comes next for heavyweight Mark Hunt?

To be clear, Mark Hunt has nothing to prove to anyone at this point. Now forty, over the years he has fought some of the best competition in the UFC  and Pride, come back from a career-threatening losing streak to go on a storybook run, took part in one of the greatest heavyweight MMA fights of all time against Bigfoot Silva, become the only man in the UFC to knock out Roy Nelson, and challenged for UFC gold, starting strong against Fabricio Werdum before being felled by a stunning flying knee.

Hunt, however, is a competitive fighter. Subsequent to Saturday’s loss, he put the division on notice, stating that he would be back. Now, the question is against who — and ultimately, to what end?

Given the loss, Hunt is out of the title picture for the time being, and at his age, another shot is unlikely, though not outside the realm of possibility. However, Werdum needs to meet Cain, and then there’s the winner of Dos Santos and Miocic to take into consideration. That more than likely ties up the heavyweight title picture for the next twelve months or more, given the rate that Velasquez has defended at.

With that in mind, do you put Hunt in fun fights? There’s a question as to how many of those are left out there for the Super Samoan, as the Nelson fight was probably the one heavyweight fans most wanted to see. A rematch with Antonio Silva (the original ended in a draw that was later changed to a No Contest due to Silva failing his post-fight drug test), if each man were willing, could easily headline a card and draw a lot of eyeballs based off how good the first fight was, so that could be an option, but Silva meets Frank Mir first, at UFC 184 in February.

Outside that, there are a couple of other rematch options that are intriguing as well: Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett.

Hunt lost to both Barnett (2006) and Overeem (2008) in Japan, under the Pride and Dream banners, respectively. Both were submission losses, and now that all three are fighting in the same promotion, it would be interesting to see who has the edge at this point, all these years later. Barnett hasn’t been heard from much outside of his podcast since a loss to Travis Browne late last year, but Overeem has a fight coming up with Stefan Struve, and should he win, a rematch would draw a lot of interest (this would fly against the “winner vs. winner” match-making trend in the UFC, but it’s often dropped for fighters coming off title fight losses).

In any event, Hunt has a limited window left in which to compete, which is a shame, because he always puts on a good show, as evidenced in the opening frame of his bout last Saturday. Sometimes, the fight Gods just want to be tricksters, and put the kibosh on the happy ending MMA fans want — but don’t count Mark Hunt out just yet. That’s been done before, after all, and look at where he stands now.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.