Mark Hunt is in good spirits these days. If one thinks about it, why wouldn't he be? Yes, he's coming off of a TKO loss to Fabricio Werdum from UFC 180 in November. That stung. He doesn't deny it. But he's rested, back on the horse, and now headlining a show in Australia (a part of Australia, in fact, the UFC's never held a show previously). And the best part? He's fighting an opponent, Stipe Miocic, who currently carries a higher ranking.
"Yes, I like any fight," Hunt says of his impending UFC Fight Night 65 main event to Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour. "Stipe's above me, so it's great. It's good news.
"Someone above me would've been great, so that's exactly what I wanted. Someone higher than me in the rankings, but of course, I think I'm No. 1, anyways," he says as he lightly laughs.
That doesn't mean he hasn't necessarily thought about his now lost chance to capture UFC gold against Werdum. He does, but doesn't over examine things in terms of why he didn't win. For Hunt, well, everything sort of just happened the way it did without much of an overarching lesson. He tried, but it didn't work. That's how the fight games goes sometimes.
"I got caught. I made a mistake and got caught," Hunt says matter-of-factly. "I was trying to steal cookies out of [Werdum's] jar. It ended up a highlight reel, so you can't make those mistakes."
Of note, however, is Hunt's admission that he hasn't gone back and watched the fight. Nearly four months later, the UFC heavyweight can't bother to go review what went right and what went wrong, at least on film.
"No, I haven't [watched the Werdum fight]. I don't really like to watch replays of... it depends," he meanders. "I just didn't watch it. That's all."
Hunt's logic seems reasonable enough. Sometimes he will go back and watch what happened in losses, but there's always a cost to doing so, namely, the ability to move forward when you're mired in the past.
"Well, I do watch some of my losses, but it just makes me think, 'Well, you know, should have done this; could have done that'," he says. "But that's why I don't like watching it. It's a shoulda/coulda/woulda thing. You go back in the moment there and you're like, 'Wow. That's where you made the mistake'. So that's what happens."
He's also candid about the challenges he faced walking into the fight. That means the physical component, which was losing the weight and taking the bout on short notice.
"Yeah, it was pretty exhausting," Hunt says of trying to lose the weight. "It was one of the those things, I don't realize it when I fight that quickly. It's what happens. I lost the fight. That's what happens."
For Hunt, though, there was something else that was much worse than any physical hill he had to climb.
"That was pretty hectic," he admits. But "it wasn't actually all that. That was hard, but I had other issues that were even more draining than that. But that was pretty hard, yeah.
"I had issues that came up. It wasn't good....just mentioning it wore me down. I was broken at that time. It wasn't good."
"The Super Samoan" won't precisely say what it was that troubled him, but notes it was related to things in his home.
"It was just domestic stuff. It had nothing to do with the fight," he claims. "It had nothing to do with the fight at all. It was other issues, it was personal issues."
Like anything else, though, he can't claim that as a reason he lost to Werdum. He says by Saturday, he "was in a much better place, actually. The issue was resolved and I was in a far better place. Totally.
"I can't use anything as an excuse. I got caught trying to steal Werdum's freakin' cookie jar. I got caught. I made a mistake and got caught and got knocked out, and that's what happens."
In fact, looking back, he's disappointed with the loss, but maybe didn't do all that poorly. He knew the odds were stacked against him heading into the contest. He maybe even won the first round against the Brazilian. It didn't end the way he wanted, but he's happy he at least tried his best. "Look, man," he says, "no one expected me to win going in trying to lose 30 kilograms. You're going in there trying to take his spot. I was trying to do it, but it didn't happen."
If there's any takeaway as Hunt moves forward and readies himself for Miocic, it's that he's not carrying baggage into his next fight. He's getting what he wants: a top-ranked fighter near his native home with a full training camp behind him.
Things didn't go well against Werdum, but they don't always go well in MMA or the UFC. It's all just part of the process. Hunt understands this better than most and while acknowledges the loss was disappointing, is resistant to the idea it says anything about it.
"I was just doing the normal fight," he notes. "I tried to beat him to his punch or kick or whatever he was gonna do and I got caught. That's what happens. It's a high level here. It's not the beginning ranks."