UFC 144 Results: Is Mark Hunt the Most Underrated Heavyweight in the UFC?

Christopher HuertaContributor IIIFebruary 26, 2012

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:   Mark Hunt of Australia celebrates his win over Chris Tuchscherer of the United States during their heavyweight bout as part of UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Mark Hunt is 3-0 in the UFC in 2012.  If you told 99 percent of MMA fans that just a few short years ago they would have laughed, let alone believe you.  The Super Samoan is one of the hottest fighters in the UFC and will mostly likely face a top 10 opponent in his next fight.  That begs the question: is Mark Hunt UNDER-rated?

Let's face it, the UFC heavyweight roster is filled with some of the biggest, most accomplished names in MMA.  From current Champion Junior Dos Santos to Alistair Overeem and "Big Nog," there aren't any names that will truly sneak up on anyone.  Even mid-tier fighters like Gabriel Gonzaga, Ben Rothwell and Brendan Schuab are not surprises and seem to be ranked in their proper place.  Simply put, there aren't many fighters who you can say are underrated. 

Is Mark Hunt the most underrated heavyweight? To answer that let's compare him to the only two UFC heavyweights that I can argue are underrated: Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir

These future opponents are considered top five fighters though they often don't get enough credit for their accomplishments.  With Cain, you are talking about a fighter who has one, quick loss to a dominate record.  After that high profile defeat to JDS he seemed to be dropped rapidly by experts when it can be argued he should be ranked along side the current Champ. 

With Mir you are talking about a long-time UFC veteran whose only losses since his resurgence have come to bigger, stronger opponents (Lesnar and Carwin).  Skill-wise he is among the best and most well-rounded fighters on the entire roster, making this match-up a must-see event.

When discussing where Mark Hunt stands, many people knock him down because of his many past struggles and lacking record of 8-7.  However that does not take into consideration his fight-changing power and his seemingly new found dedication to the craft.  Hunt has made himself into a more powerful Roy Nelson, a fighter who can give a ton of punishment, takes some shots and avoids the majority of takedowns. 

Mark Hunt isn't a fringe top 20 heavyweight.  That's someone who would need to win by upset to beat a top 10 guy.  Hunt, in my eyes, would be even money against anyone 11-20 and could very easily beat top 10 fighters like Carwin, Big Nog and Bigfoot Silva. There are very few fighters in the roster that could explode Hunt's biggest weakness, making them vulnerable to his KO power.

This Mark Hunt, the 2012 version, has a legitimate shot at becoming a top 10 heavyweight.  Don't let that 8-7 record fool you.  He is underrated, scary, and an opponent that no heavyweight wants to be across the cage from.