UFC's Dana White wants Mark Hunt to fight forever

By Nick Walshaw, Nick Campton

UFC legend Mark Hunt grew up in Auckland and has carved out a career as one of the most respected UFC fighters in the world. Photo / Getty.
UFC legend Mark Hunt grew up in Auckland and has carved out a career as one of the most respected UFC fighters in the world. Photo / Getty.

DANA White has given Sydney heavyweight Mark Hunt permission to stay in the UFC for as long as he wants, revealing: "Until the day that guy doesn't want to throw a punch anymore, he's with me".

Speaking with Round 6, White revealed he had initially planned to retire the 42-year-old slugger after his most recent contract expired in early 2016.

Yet instead of departing the company, Hunt has instead re-signed for a further six bouts while also being catapulted into the most hyped fight of his storied career - challenging American megastar Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 on July 9.

Asked if he expected the company's second oldest athlete to see out his new deal, UFC president White said: "Listen, until the day that guy doesn't want to throw a punch anymore, he's with me.

"I love Mark Hunt.

"And I've told him that. When we were talking through his latest contract I said, 'Mark I love yah and I want you to end your career with me. I want you to be here for the rest of your career'."

Back in March, White revealed to this column how he once offered Hunt $400,000 to quit the company. That offer, after acquiring Pride back in 2010, came with the western Sydney ratepayer on a horror losing streak stretching four years and five fights.

Since then, however, the Auckland-born heavyweight has dropped only three of 11 bouts - one of which was an 11th hour world title fight against Fabricio Werdum.

But as for age having no bearing on his future?

"I used to think it did," White continues. "But when you look at what he's accomplished between our last deal and this one ... no, age is not a factor with Mark Hunt."

As part of his build up to UFC 200, Hunt is bringing a large contingent of family with him to Las Vegas for Fight Week. Quizzed on the 'extras' of his new contract, White laughed: "Let's just say all the extras Mark wants prove how much I really want him to retire with me.

"He's definitely a special individual when it comes to doing a deal. But I love the f ... ing guy and was willing to do whatever it took.

"I love his style, I love his toughness and I really love his f ... ing walk off knockouts. I love everything about him."

- news.com.au

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