Not many people are looking to get in the cage with Alistair Overeem at the moment. His knee-to-midriff destruction of Brock Lesnar seems to have made a few of his heavyweight peers fear for the safety of their own digestive systems.
But K-1 Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt isn’t one of them. In fact he is making a specific point of calling Overeem out for a rematch of their 2008 meeting at DREAM 5, which Overeem won by way of Americana just over one minute in.
“If they'd like to get me a fight I'd like to get a rematch with Alistair Overeem, you know, when he comes back from his injury or from whatever, his hiatus,” Hunt said in an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I'd like to have my rematch with him.”
Told that Overeem is promised a title shot on his return he said, “It is what it is. I'd be willing to fight next year so it doesn't matter. If he gets a title shot, that's good on him, ha!”
“Well look, its not my call, I don’t run UFC. I am just an employee so its not my call. Its like anything, its not up to us to make decisions unless its my company.”
Asked if there was anyone else on his radar because Overeem is off the menu, Hunt selected Melvin Manhoef “or anyone I have lost to really”. Yes, Hunt has a loss to Manhoef - a blown-up middleweight - which came by TKO just 18 seconds into their 2008 fight.
The loss to Manhoef was also right in the middle of a six-fight losing streak that Hunt went on between 2006 and 2010. Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Melvin Manhoef and Gegard Mousasi all beat him inside the distance. And all but Manhoef did it inside the distance. Despite this, Hunt got a UFC fight because of a legal wrangle due to his Pride FC contract, which had been bought out by Zuffa.
He was matched with and lost to the completely unheralded Sean McCorkle, by armbar in the first round, yet amazingly got another fight and won against Chris Tuchscherer. He followed that with wins over Ben Rothwell and Cheick Kongo and suddenly the man the everyone was writing off as a joke in 2010 was back on business for 2011.
His turnaround was such that he was the subject of an online campaign - #rallyforhunt - to give him a heavyweight title shot when Overeem was pulled from his UFC 146 title shot earlier this year after failing a drug test. The UFC didn’t go for it but a sizeable amount of the fanbase did, as well as figures like Joe Rogan.
Having hurt his knee earlier this year, Hunt has been out of action. But he will be back in 2013 and, who knows, the rally for Hunt might gather fresh momentum…