UFC

Mark Hunt on his unique walk, and earned confidence

Mark Hunt has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Saitama Arena on September 20, 2014 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Mark Hunt has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Saitama Arena on September 20, 2014 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Competition week is a careful balancing act for most athletes. UFC athletes, for example, are usually balancing a weight cut all week long up until 24 hours before their contests, when they need to weigh-in.

Then, after weighing-in, the challenge of replenishing and relaxing begins. The day of the fight, the right foods need to be eaten, after the right amount of sleep has been gotten.

Once at the arena, fighters usually follow a careful routine that is meant to leave them warm, loose, and mentally present by the time they enter the Octagon to do battle. The locker room warm up is usually all-important, to this end.

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Good coaches keep it to a few key movements, and combinations meant to wake up the body, and get a sweat going that must be maintained all the way until the bout starts. In case you've ever wondered, that's why you usually see fighters walk out to the cage wearing lots of clothing - boxers often wearing long, hooded robes, MMA fighters wearing beanies, hoods, jackets, sweats, socks, and shoes.

If you start a fight, cold, you'll start it slow, the conventional wisdom goes. So, once a fighter has broken a sweat in the back, they are wrapped up to stay warm until the action of the competition can pick up that process on its own.

So crucial is this component to most fighters that it isn't uncommon to hear some combatants blame a poor warm-up or hitting the cage, cold, for a lackluster performance.

Mark Hunt will likely never make such excuses.

In fact, it would seem as though he couldn't possibly care less about things on which other fighters hang a great deal of their confidence on. That's why when you look back at recent walks Hunt has taken from the locker room to the cage, he looks less like a finely-tuned professional athlete (which, he is) than an ancient warrior shuffling towards a violent fate with both a focus that represents respect for the fight, as well as a natural nonchalance that can only come from having made the walk countless times before, evident in his gait and eyes.

There is Hunt, sweating, un-sleeved heavy arms at his shirtless side. No socks, no shoes to keep his million-dollar feet warm.

He's wearing shorts and gloves, perhaps only because they are required, but that is it. His walk isn't meant to psyche himself up, or to intimidate others.

Mark Hunt's walk is simply the way he gets to the fight. The fight is the thing, and Mark Hunt is always ready to fight.

His approach to the all-important walk, after his warm-up, reflects Hunt's blunt but deep philosophy.

"I just don't give a rat's," he told FOX Sports.

"I'm there to do a job, and I don't care about anything else. My job is to go out there and punch someone."

So, we repeat the question just to be clear -- Hunt doesn't care about keeping his sweat going, keeping the heat in, and staying warm, or whatever else the rest of us have been trying so hard to do fight after fight, for hundreds of years? No, he does not.

"I don't give a rat's," he repeated.

Similarly, Hunt doesn't much care that his Saturday opponent, Frank Mir, is so confident that he's the more well-rounded guy in their UFC Brisbane main event. "Of course he's going to say all that," Hunt sniffed.

"I feel the same way. I feel I'm better. It is now just a matter of time until we find out who is right. On [Saturday] we'll find out who is better."

None of this -- the fighting in a huge arena, the main event stage, the dangerous opponent -- are new to Hunt, 41. He's carried on an elite career in multiple combat sports for longer than most ever do, and the ease and sense of accomplishment he feels from surviving those years is probably something that can never be stripped from him.

"I feel kind of proud to be fighting for as long as I have," he admitted.

"To have been at the top of two different sports for the amount of time that I've been fighting is something. I haven't received many injuries and I feel proud, I feel accomplished to be right here, still doing it."

Mark hunt's fans feel lucky to still get to watch the born and bred fighter do his thing. He makes his unique walk into the arena once more this Saturday.