Kiwi mixed martial arts fighter Mark Hunt's biggest challenge of his latest training camp has been to shed 20kg.

The heavyweight put on some excess beef after surgery on a badly infected leg after his knockout loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 in Las Vegas in May.

The Sydney-based brawler arrived in Auckland last month for his camp to prepare for his bout with Brazilian Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane in December weighing around 142kg. He normally fights at 120kg.

A tough fitness regime has seen him drop to 132kg during the first six weeks of his camp under head trainer Steve Oliver.

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Hunt's preparation to meet Silva will ramp up another notch this weekend as he aims to lose another 5kg by next week as he cuts out carbohydrates from his diet.

"He's coming back from injury so it has been a bit of a slow start," Oliver said. "But we are fully in the swing of things now and we've got Soa Palelei coming over and a couple of big boys to wrestle with Mark on the weekend. So they're going to be staying here for the rest of the time as well."

Palelei, who is 19-3 in his MMA career, will fight Pat Barry on the UFC Fight Night 33 card and has similar dimensions to the 1.93m and 118kg Silva.

"He's easily as big as Bigfoot so it'll be perfect," Oliver said.

Hunt, who has a 9-8 career record, has also had to overcome a gruesome toe injury suffered in the bout with dos Santos but said he would be in decent shape to fight Silva who will represent a different challenge in the octagon.

Silva (18-5) possesses less striking power than his fellow Brazilian and will likely want to slow the fight down and work Hunt up against the cage.

ROTORUA DAILY POST
25 Sep, 2013 8:02am
2 minutes to read

The fight is scheduled for five rounds and Hunt said he would have no problem going the distance despite the fact he's never had a bout last that long in his career.

"Of course," he said. "I'm the greatest fighter on the damn planet. I'm ready to rock and roll."

Although he doesn't see it lasting five rounds.

"I doubt it. But I'll be preparing for five anyway. I don't think it's going to go five but we'll see what happens."

Hunt drew some controversy this week by allowing an image of himself to be shown in front of the Australian flag on a promotional poster for the fight night in Brisbane.

The New Zealand-born Hunt has lived in Australia for almost 20 years, and his wife and their three children are Australians, so he said he didn't see it as a big deal.

Hunt voiced his frustrations about a lack of recognition in New Zealand for his achievements from his lengthy fighting career that has spanned K-1 kickboxing and MMA but he confirmed he would remain loyal to his Kiwi fanbase in the future.

"I'm always going to be a New Zealand fighter," Hunt said. "I'm a Kiwi of course and I've still got my New Zealand passport."