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Mark Hunt: For Russia... with no love

Newshub logoNewshub 14/09/2018 Grant Chapman

Mark Hunt looking at the camera © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

On the eve of his return to the UFC stage in Russia, Kiwi fighting legend Mark Hunt has taken another jab at the sordid underbelly of his chosen sport.

Hunt, 44, takes on localĀ favourite Alexei Oleinik in Moscow on Sunday morning (NZ time), headlining that nation's first-ever UFC promotion.

Oleinik offers Hunt an evenly matched opponent that is similar in age and experience, and one even more important quality.

"He's a clean fighter, so it's great," Hunt told media.

The veteran heavyweight admits he may be nearing the end of his career, with two fights left on his UFC contract, but he's determined to leave his legacy on a code that has been blemished by drug scandals.

Hunt fell out with the promotion's management, after losing to Brock Lesnar, who was subsequently suspended for failing two drug tests.

The Kiwis expressed fears about the impact juiced-up opponents was having on his health and those comments echoed through the sport this week, when another former opponent - Brazilian Fabricio Werdum - received a two-year drug suspension this week.

"I'm glad that Fabricio Werdrum got caught, that little b****!" Hunt said. "Good job, go back to the favelas.

"He was supposed to be here, but that's what you get for being weak. That's what you get, Fabricio, for being a weak-minded person.

"See you later."

Werdrum was supposed to face Oleinik this weekend, but was pulled from the encounter in May, after the positive test.

"If I get known for my great fighting or if I get known for making things even, it doesn't matter to me," Hunt said, about his struggle against drug cheats.

"Actually, that's more important to me, to be honest. It's been a chain of them and it's not a good feeling."

Hunt hasn't ruled out extending his current contract, despite his pending legal action against the UFC, but admits his aging body is catching up with him.

"If the offer's good, I'm not stupid," he said. "I have to pay bills too.

"If the offer's good enough, I'll do it, but if not, I'll do it on my own terms."

Hunt is predicting a knockout over Oleinik, known for his Ezekiel choke move, in the first two rounds, but says he is prepared to go the five-round distance.

"Strangulation to the death, whatever," he said. "I'm ready for it."


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