UFC power puncher Mark Hunt has told Australian media he believes he is just two fights away from a potential heavyweight title shot.
The Kiwi-born Sydney-based fighter is preparing to take on two-time champion Frank Mir in Brisbane next month and says a victory will earn him the right to choose his next opponent in the main event at UFC Fight Night on March 20.
"I'm two fights away," Hunt told the Sydney Daily Telegraph. "If I can get over Frank I can ask for a top-five guy and if I get over him it would be a world-title fight."
Hunt's rejuvenation as a UFC force continued when he beat formidable Brazilian Antonio "Big Foot" Silva in a first round sensation at UFC 193 in Melbourne in November. His momentum had previously been halted after a heavy loss to American Stipe Miocic in Adelaide last May.
Hunt was hoping to fight No. 5 ranked Junior Dos Santos in Brisbane but was happy to take on Mir.
"You get what you get," Hunt told the Telegraph.
"I asked for a top-five guy and I wanted a rematch with JDS (Dos Santos) or one of those top five guys but I just do what I'm told to do. That's the job."
But Hunt admitted to frustration over not having a greater say on his opponents.
"He's not a top-five guy but Frank Mir's no slouch," he said.
"He's done something I've never done - he's a two-time UFC champion - and if I get over Frank then I can have his notch on my belt and move on. It's a great fight."
The Telegraph said the bout "offers plenty of intrigue, with knockout artist Hunt tackling a skilled submission artist in Mir".
"I think it will be a striker versus a grappler match," Hunt said.
"It will be me trying to knock his lips off and him (Mir) trying to break my arms or legs. Someone's getting knockout or finished in a submission."
Mir boasts an 18-10 win-loss record.
"Everyone at the top end is well versed in everything," Hunt said.
"He's not a one-trick pony. He can stand and bang plus he can break your neck. It's the same as me, if I see a submission I'll take the submission but I'd rather knock your lips off."
Hunt has put on weight since his win over Silva but promised to shed the kilos after his much publicised weight issues that contributed to his ugly loss to Miocic.
"I did put on some weight but it's coming off," he said.
"I'm about 13kgs over now, but I'm not going to do a weight cut like I did in Adelaide. Ever again. If I do I might as well hang it up.
"I don't want my fans or myself going through that again. It's not good."