Mark Hunt dubs potential Roy Nelson bout in September the 'Battle of the Bulge'

Mark Kolbe

Mark Hunt's personal life has been anything but slow, but the professional side of things have been on hold.

That is, in terms of his personal life, Hunt has a lot going on. Just three weeks ago, the former PRIDE and current UFC heavyweight welcomed his child into the world. As one can imagine, that's taken up quite a bit of his time.

Still, time is what Hunt needed, if we're counting time away from the fight game. After his last bout in December of 2013 opposite Antonio Silva in which the result was both a draw and one labeled a fight of the year contender, Hunt needed time off to heal his injured left hand in addition to tending to his pregnant wife.

Hunt now says the hand is healed and most importantly, he's been medically cleared to compete again.

"The hand is good, though. It's healed now, so I got cleared for the fighting," Hunt told Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour. "I'm really ready to get back on the grind. I got to spend a little time here with the family, to look after the kids and wife. As soon as she's ready for me to go, I'm going to get a bike and I'm out of here for training. So looking forward to get back to work."

The heavyweight has a date in mind when he'd like to return (more on that in a moment), but reveals he had to turn down a previous offer from the UFC. And not just any offer, but the chance to fight in his native New Zealand on June 28th opposite Brendan Schaub. For Hunt, the timing along with the opponent choice just didn't work for him.

"It was not good timing," Hunt explained. "I just had a baby and I wasn't even training. It was not a good time and my hand wasn't cleared. I said no. I had no option. I don't want to lose anymore. I want to get a title shot, so there's no point in doing that. It was bad timing, that's all.

"I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't compete there, but there's always next time. It's great that it's going back down to New Zealand, of course, but there's always next time."

As for Schaub, Hunt managed to draw his ire in declining the contest, but the 'Super Samoan' says there's a pretty clear reason why Schaub didn't interest him: he's not a top 10 ranked heavyweight.

"I'm happy that's not the fight that's happening. No disrespect to Brendan, but I want to fight some of the top guys, I mean in the top 10. Fighting Schaub would probably be going backwards, so it is what it is."

When Hunt revealed on Twitter he believed Schaub "sucks", Schaub naturally took exception and the two had a bit of a back and forth on the social media platform. Hunt says there's no chance he fights Schaub, but was happy to oblige the American heavyweight.

"Brendan was the one saying all this rubbish and I'm not above anyone to talk smack myself, but if you want to have it, we can have it any way you like," Hunt declared. "Wherever you want to go, I don't mind. Sort of made me feel even better."

If Hunt is finally over the personal life and medical necessity hump, what is he planning for his return to the Octagon?

The fighter, who is now 40 years of age, revealed the UFC offered him a contest opposite Roy Nelson on a card tentatively planned for September in Japan.

"I think I was spoken to about that," Hunt said of the proposed bout. "I have said yes to that match. I'd love to fight in Japan against Roy. He's one of the top fighters in the world and we can battle it out somewhere down there. It'll be great."

For Hunt, Nelson and Japan are the perfect combo: Nelson is a respected, ranked fighter and Japan is a place where Hunt, who grew his name in kickboxing in The Land of the Rising Sun, is all too happy to compete.

"I feel Roy's a lot better opponent than Brendan Schaub is. He's a better fighter and I want to fight the better guys," Hunt explained. "I love [the idea of fighting in Japan]. I love fighting in Japan. I fought there 70 times. It's like my second house."

Hunt knows the bout isn't just of interest to him, but for fans as well, who wonder which heavy-handed heavyweight will be able to knock the other out. As for the Kiwi in Hunt, he respects what Nelson can do - especially after seeing Nelson dispatch of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his last fight - but cautions everyone to not count him out.

"That was amazing," Hunt says of Nelson's knockout of Nogueira. "He's got a bomb in that hand, Dan Henderson power. It's crazy.

"The question is: can he withstand [my power]? Honestly, the thing is we're both heavyweights, anything could happen to anyone. It's lights out. It's who lands it, who gets you."

Hunt, who is forever affable and light hearted despite the intensity of his occupation, even has a name for a potential bout with Nelson, a name that's borrowed from World War II military history.

"Battle of the 'bulge', eh?," Hunt says in a play on words about both he and Nelson's heavier physiques. "That'd be great. Hopefully it happens. I already said yes for that, so we'll see what happens."

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