Mark Hunt arrived at Narita Airport on December 27th, exactly one year from his last appearance in Japan. On December 31st, he will face Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in a rematch in PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005, to be held at Saitama Super Arena. Hunt answered questions from the gathered reporters and seemed unworried about his upcoming bout.

Hunt arrived in Japan wearing shorts and sandals. Although Hunt, straight from Australia which is in the middle of summer, kept saying that he was cold, he also showed how tough he is against the cold by wearing nothing more than his shorts, sandals and a single jersey.

Hunt, making his first trip to Japan since his fight with Wanderlei Silva in last year's SHOCKWAVE, seemed unconcerned about the interval, "I'm in very good condition. I weight 126kg and am in good shape. This year has been a good period for me to train for next year's (Heavyweight) Grand Prix."

"I think I can fit into the Heavyweight top 10. (laughing) I'll eat my way up to the top 3. I have only had 3 fights since I started MMA and although I lost 1 fight, I think I fought the other 2 fights well. I'm aiming for the top. I will go after the title next year," Hunt said.

However, Hunt's opponent this time, Mirko, knocked Hunt down for the first time in his life and walked away with the win.

Still, Hunt is motivated, "This fight will be better than the last. I lost the last fight but I'm confident I will win this time. I want to win by KO but if we have to wrestle, I've trained for it. In this fight I want to see how far I've grown as a mixed martial artist."

You can feel from Hunt's words that he considers this fight with Mirko to be a test match before the next Grand Prix. He has not fought over the past year, instead choosing to train wrestling, jujitsu, etc. for mixed martial arts.

"I've been training since a month ago for my fight with Mirko. Special training? No, I just trained as usual," Hunt said calmly, possibly an indication of how confident he is in his training over the past year. Hunt said that he learned throws from Kazuhiro Nakamura, who traveled to Australia this summer for training. Hunt wished Nakamura "good luck" in his fight.

"If I was 100% in my last fight with Silva, I'm 110% now. I'm definitely better than before," Hunt stressed that he has gotten stronger. Is Hunt just a big mouth or does he have reason to be confident? The answer will be made clear in the ring on December 31st.