Mark Hunt earned a six-pack of beer from his first organised fight.

You know the story by now: The tearaway teenager from a brutal childhood in South Auckland was spotted fighting outside a nightclub and thrown in to a proper kickboxing bout a week later.

Hunt won the scrap and fighting has been a constant in his life ever since.

He has competed at the highest level, in front of some of the biggest crowds and earned millions of dollars along the way - he has also blown a small fortune through gambling and dodgy management.


But never in his wildest dreams could he have predicted he would be in the co-main event of the biggest event in the history of MMA.

UFC 200 will take place in Las Vegas on Sunday (NZT) and six weeks ago, Hunt wasn't even on the fight card.

Then when former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar confirmed he was returning to the octagon, Hunt was named as his opponent.

The UFC 200 card has endured some juggling at the 11th hour.

Firstly, interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (22-1) was popped for a potential failed drugs test this week and his fight with champion proper Daniel Cormier (17-1) was cancelled.

Cormier will now fight Brazilian legend Anderson Silva (33-7, 1 NC), the former middleweight champion, in a three-round non-title bout.

For a while, that put Hunt - the man the UFC tried to buy out of his contract in 2009 - in the headliner.

Then the UFC announced today, following confirmation of Silva's appearance, that the women's bantamweight title fight between Miesha Tate (18-5) and Amanda Nunes (12-4) would serve as the main event.


"Miesha Tate deserves to be the main event," UFC president Dana White said. "It's the right thing to do."

But there's no denying that Lesnar (5-3) is a major drawcard for Sunday and during his run in the UFC from 2008-2011 he was a box-office star who sold plenty of pay-per-views.

He's a freak athlete and people have always been fascinated by him, whether it's in the octagon or professional wrestling.

Then there's the 12-10-1 Hunt.

During a press conference in Las Vegas this week, which featured the fighters on the main card for UFC 200 and went for more than 30 minutes, Hunt was asked only one question.

As for his thoughts on the bout, he kept it simple in typical Hunt fashion.

"I'm looking forward to it," the 42-year-old said. "It's been a while since Brock has fought but I'm always willing to play 'punch-face' with anyone."

Hunt's recent body of work includes two first-round knockout finishes over Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva (19-9-1) and former champion Frank Mir (18-11).

Hunt recently signed a new six-fight contract that will likely take him through to the end of his MMA career.

He has hands like bricks and with a scoop of cement in his jaw, his durability has always served him well.

Lesnar, a decorated collegiate wrestler, will want to drag Hunt to the ground and beat him there but Hunt also has some of the best takedown defence in the heavyweight division.

One quirky thing attached to this bout is that despite being born in South Dakota in the United States, Lesnar, who was the headline act for UFC 100, will compete under the Canadian flag.

"Quite simply, I live there, that's how simple it is," Lesnar said.

Keys to the fight:
Mark Hunt
- Keep it standing. Few people can stick with Hunt when the fight stays on the feet
- Be patient. Lesnar has only been to the third round once in eight professional fights, while Hunt has the conditioning - yes, really - to fight in to the third round. The finish could come, he doesn't need to force it

Brock Lesnar
- Get it to the deck. Lesnar is a high-level wrestler who has strong grappling and a submission or two in his arsenal
- Head movement. This one sounds obvious but Lesnar needs to avoid eating punches from the Super Samoan; it will be a short night if he doesn't keep nimble and move