Mark Hunt could be back in the ring soon.
This past weekend, Hunt sent out a message on social media tagging Jake Paul and seemingly indicating a desire to box the famous influencer. Paul recently announced that his next boxing match will be in March with an opponent to be announced.
Hunt was asked about the callout during an appearance on The MMA Hour, and he didn’t rule out the possibility that he and Paul could trade punches someday.
“Is that the fight that he wants?” Hunt said. “I always thought he was kind of small for it, but if he wants to throw hands, I’ll throw hands with anyone, to be honest. That ain’t a problem.
“I actually like what he’s done. He’s actually done a lot of good things for himself and for fighting. If he can sell out stadiums as being a YouTuber, so I have respect for that, but as skill level goes, I don’t think so, to be honest. But who knows what the future holds?”
The former UFC heavyweight contender’s past two fights have taken place in the boxing ring. In December 2020, Hunt lost a decision to former rugby league player Paul Gallen, then bounced back in November 2022 with a TKO of Sonny Bill Williams. Following his win over Williams, Hunt indicated that he was retiring from combat sports, an announcement that he has since gone back on.
In all likelihood, when Hunt fights again it won’t be in boxing or MMA gloves. The 49-year-old is currently in discussion with BKFC for a future fight.
“I’m kind of keen on doing some bare-knuckle,” Hunt said. “I have been talking to the [BKFC] for a while ago, but we just didn’t lock down a deal. I’m keen on doing some bare-knuckle, I had a lot of messages with the champ, [Mick] Terrill, maybe we can throw our hands together somewhere.”
“No one says fighting is good for anybody, you’ve got to be kind of tough to say fighting is good for you,” Hunt continued. “But like I said, what it provides is financial stability. I don’t fight because I love to, I fight because God has put me to be a fighter. It provides good money and that’s what it is, it’s an honest living. I’m not going to sit here and s*** in your pants and say that I love doing it, it’s just fighting, it is what it is. Growing up, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, but God said, ‘You are going to be a fighter’ and that’s what I’ve been doing with my whole life. It’s been over three decades… and I’m still going.”
BKFC heavyweight champion Mick Terrill isn’t the only target that Hunt thinks would make sense for his bare-knuckle debut.
Former UFC contender Ben Rothwell has emerged as a standout in the BKFC ring and he has a history with Hunt. The two fought at UFC 135 in Denver over 12 years ago, with Hunt outpointing Rothwell in a grueling contest.
“Dave has actually messaged me about – we’ve been speaking about a fight,” Hunt said. “Maybe in June we can sort something out, I’ll be ready to throw hands, and hopefully, I thought I’d take that title in three fights fights, well, take it in one.”
“Who knows? We could be throwing hands in England or wherever with Big Mick. … [Rothwell] is another fight I’ve been talking about,” he later added. “We locked horns in Denver, Colorado, me and Ben Rothwell, but man, that was a hard fight because if you don’t get acclimatized to that air, he’s struggling like I was. That was a hard match, not because of the fight, but because of the altitude.”
Hunt recently had a longstanding case against the UFC struck down in federal court, putting an end to a saga that saw Hunt accuse the promotion, UFC CEO Dana White, and UFC 200 opponent Brock Lesnar of conspiring to allow Lesnar to compete against him with the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs (Lesnar subsequently failed a drug test in relation to the fight, but Hunt’s team failed to provide evidence that officials were aware in advance that Lesnar was using banned substances).
The 25-year veteran will demand that his next opponent forfeit their purse if they are caught cheating.
“At the end of the day, as long as they put a clause in the contract that if you’re caught using steroids you don’t get any funds, that’s all I’m keen about, to be honest,” Hunt said. “We’ll see what happens.”