Mark Hunt fought an amazing toe-to-toe battle with former professional boxer Yousuke Nishijima in the February 26th PRIDE 31 UNBREAKABLE event. Hunt, the "Samoan Monster", happily spoke to PRIDE in this exclusive interview about the Nishijima fight, his desire to fight in the Open Weight Grand Prix and his body weight.




Pride Fighting Championships: How do you feel, looking back on your fight with Nishijima?
Mark Hunt: It was a tough fight because Nishijima has a very strong spirit but I'm glad that I won in the end.
Pride: Where did you think Nishijima had a strong spirit?
Hunt: Several of my punches connected and I was trying to hurt him but Nishijima kept on standing up and trying to fight. Honestly, I wasn't sure how to fight him.
Pride: Did you ever feel that you were in trouble?
Hunt: He had several good punches but I was fine.
Pride: You tried for an arm-bar and an arm-lock in the 1st round. Did you want to win by submission?
Hunt: Yes. If I had just put a little more weight on Nishijima's shoulder, I would have gotten the arm-lock.
Pride: What kind of game plan were you thinking of before the fight?
Hunt: I was just going to go with the flow of the fight. If it's standing, it's standing and if it's on the ground, it's on the ground.
Pride: During the (Japanese) television broadcast, the ringside announcer said that you weren't listening to your corner man's instructions in the 3rd round. Was that true?
Hunt: I could hear my corner man's voice but you can't always do what they say.
Pride: Watching the fight, it seemed like you were intentionally trying to fight on Nishijima's terms.
Hunt: That's exactly right. I fought standing because I wanted to respect Nishijima's strong spirit.
Pride: Were there any other fights that you liked?
Hunt: I watched all of the fights and I think they were all good.
Pride: What did you think of Nogueira's and Josh's fights? You may have to face them in the Open Weight Grand Prix.
Hunt: They were good. They have good skills.
Pride: Who would you like to fight among Fedor, Nogueira, Mirko and Josh?
Hunt: Anyone is fine but I think it would be an interesting fight if Fedor and I fought.
Pride: How would you fight against Fedor?
Hunt: I don't have any particular strategy. It's important to have a clear understanding of what's happening in the ring.
Pride: Your weight differs in each fight that you're in. You don't put much importance on controlling your weight, do you?
Hunt: I don't care at all. I may be 180kg in my next fight. (laughing) That's a joke. I'm actually thinking about training and dropping a little weight for my next fight. I'd like to get in good shape and show off my six-pack. (laughing)
Pride: Many Heavyweight fighters lose fat and put on a lot of muscle to fight. Do you feel that your conditioning is better in your present condition?
Hunt: When a fighter that's all muscles gets hit with a punch, the fist directly hits the muscle so there's more damage. I've got fat on top of my muscles so there's little shock to my muscles. In that sense, fighters with fat have an advantage.
Pride: Do you watch what you eat?
Hunt: I eat fast food some times. I don't really pay much attention to it. I would really like to diet, though.
Pride: How do you eat every day, by the way?
Hunt: I eat a lot, 3 times a day, to get this body shape, so I'm think of eating smaller portions, 6 times a day. Einemo eats like that. He is really detailed and breaks up the number of his meals. He says that it's good for your body but it seems difficult to eat every 2 or 3 hours.
Pride: What is the biggest steak you've eaten?
Hunt: I eat the same as everyone else. (laughing)
Pride: Many fighters eat a lot of carbohydrates. Are there any kinds of foods that you pay particular attention to?
Hunt: I definitely eat a lot of carbohydrates too and I try to eat foods that are good for my body, like fruits.
Pride: You've told us before that you also play tennis, in addition to your martial arts training. Do you still play tennis?
Hunt: Yes. Einemo's not very good, though. (laughing)
Pride: Being from New Zealand, are you good at swimming?
Hunt: Einemo swims like a fish but I'm not so good.
Pride: Australia is a country with lots of nature. Do you do any training incorporating nature?
Hunt: I run on the beach a lot because running on sand is hard training. Einemo and Kazu are really fast though, so I always get left behind. I'm always begging them, "wait up guys!" (laughing)
Pride: You've apparently begun training again with Hape, your coach, since your last fight. What was the reason for that?
Hunt: I thought that I needed to train with Hape and he's a great instructor. He's technically good and, of course, good at motivating me.
Pride: When did you start training with Hape?
Hunt: When I was about 25. I trained at a different gym before that.
Pride: Where does Hape differ from other coaches?
Hunt: He really helps me mentally when he's in my corner. He let's me know that I am strong and then sends me in to the ring. He gets really angry when I skip training, so sometimes I have to run and hide from him. (laughing) I ask my maid to tell him "Hunt's not here" when he calls. He's a very good coach, though.
Pride: Are you training at Hape's gym now?
Hunt: Yes. I train with the other fighters that come there. I'm thinking of building my own gym when I return to Australia this time, though. It won't be that big. It will be a gym for bringing up strong professional fighters.
Pride: Are there a lot of promising fighters like you in Australia?
Hunt: Of course there are but kickboxing is still more popular than mixed martial arts. If you give me 5 years, I'll make mixed martial arts more popular than kickboxing!