INTERVIEW WITH MARK HUNT
06/15/2004

Mark Hunt held a press conference in Tokyo on June 15th, the same day that he arrived in Japan. When Hunt arrived at the training center and found a ping-pong table, he took turns playing ping-pong with the DSE employees.

 

 

 

"I will put Yoshida to sleep with one punch." Hunt laughed a little when he said, "Or, I may hit him too hard and break my own arm."

In advance of his debut MMA match at the PRIDE GP 2004 2nd Round, Hunt admits that he's nervous. "It will be a tough fight that I won't win easily", he responded when he heard his opponent would be Hidehiko Yoshida but still showed confidence.

This time, Hunt said that he invited 3 Brazilian jiu-jitsu coaches and practiced Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling for 4 hours everyday. "It was harder than standing. I learned a lot of things from different teachers. It was tough to spar with 3 jiu-jitsu coaches with no breaks."

Some people may think that 4 hours isn't very much but it's probably a lot considering that he has to get used different muscles and movements. He also does his normal standing training, too. Without counting running and weight training, his standing training is usually about 3 hours. That gives a lot more meaning to the 4 hours of jiu-jitsu training. He can train muscles that he's not used to using without overworking.

"I mainly concentrated on defense in my sparring this time. I worked on breaking tackles a lot." That's probably his best strategy, since he doesn't have much time to prepare. The fight may be decided by whether he can stay on his feet or whether he will be taken down.

Hunt's strengths come out when the fighting gets tough. His dramatic KO's in the past have all been born from slug-fests. If Yoshida tried to find a way in by striking, as he did with Silva and Tamura, that may be Hunt's chance to beat him.

"I saw the video of Yoshida and Silva. I don't see any weak points. I don't usually watch my opponent's videos because it's better to concentrate on your fighting style, rather than your opponents.

"The last time that he was in Japan, he said that he started MMA training after receiving an offer from PRIDE. This time, however, Hunt says that he's been training for a longer time. "There had been offers for me to do MMA so I'd been training long before that."

When Hunt heard that his former coach would be in Yoshida's corner, he joked, "Traitor! I'll get him if I have a chance. The weak points he used to know about me are not my weak points now. I'm faster and the me he knows is now the real me." Hunt also told us that he has a new boxing coach, head coach for the New Zealand Olympic Boxing Team.

Hunt's already got a long-term plan, "My goal is to win the Heavyweight Grand Prix two years from now." He's aiming for the top of a new stage with new weapons and a new style. "I always want to challenge myself. That's why I came to PRIDE"