Super Samoan relishing his climb to the UFC Heavyweight Peak

Published: Wed 5 Nov 2014 05:07 PM
Super Samoan relishing his climb to the UFC Heavyweight Peak
Mark Hunt may already be at high altitude but his journey to the interim UFC Heavyweight Crown is all uphill as he embraces the grind and strips weight ahead of his historic clash with Fabricio Verdum on UFC :180, November 15 in Mexico.
The “Super Samoan” has already melted more than 10 kilos from his frame in the heat of Mexico City putting him just seven kilos outside the 120-kilo weight limit two weeks out.
And he remains un-phased by the challenge of having accepted the fight on three weeks’ notice.
“Training wise, your body and mind are conditioned to expect certain things, and changing time zones means you need to reprogram your body and then you add the altitude factor which is about 2500 -3000 feet above sea level and then you factor Mexico City’s pollution problem.
“But come on man, these are the challenges you live for, normal people don’t get these opportunities because they aren't willing to take the risk. I live for this and I love being the guy who overcame the odds, it steels me for battle.
“These are obstacles to navigate not roadblocks, if the journey to the heavyweight title was easy, it wouldn't mean so much when I win.”
Despite the media’s obsession with Hunt’s weight conditioning, trainer Alex Flint insists it’s on target.
“Marks weight is 100% on track. I'm very pleased; it should be a smooth run into weigh in. My primary concern is maintaining his strength through a fortified diet and cycling his food intake to ensure maximum energy uptake.
Flint says this is crucial to the 40-year old veteran sustaining a fitness regime which is in catch up mode after seven weeks of limited training.
“Obviously it’s not where we’d like it yet, but it’s fast on the improve and we’re employing "special" tactics to maximise his progress.”
Hunt’s renowned striking coach, Lollo Heimuli flew into the Mexico City yesterday and is quickly integrating a plan for the well rounded Werdum.
“With a veteran like Mark, it’s just getting the strategy right. Small details count in making timing work in a split second, so we’ll be working on this – you don’t teach the old dog new tricks but you can open the door for him to use the ones he has.”
The 40-year-old, who has a 10-8-1 record in mixed martial arts, was given an opportunity to fight for the interim belt following an injury to heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Wedrum has won his past four bouts in the UFC including a win against Roy Nelson who Hunt beat by knockout in September.
Event: UFC: 180 WERDUM vs. HUNT
When: 4pm, Sunday November 16
Price: $29.99* domestic rates apply
Booking details: Txt ‘UFC180’ to 4024 or call 0800 759 782

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