Few heavyweight tilts can hold up against Mark Hunt vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva I.
Their epic five-round majority draw at UFC Fight Night 33 back in 2013 was easily one of the best fights in UFC history, let alone the heavyweight division.
While Silva ultimately failed the post-fight drug test, his efforts will not be forgotten. Because no matter how much unwarranted testosterone was pumping through his veins that night, his gritty exertion claims greatness.
Since then, both fighters have gone a pedestrian 1-2, falling from divisional grace along the way. Hunt is currently riding a two-fight losing streak (both by finishes), while Silva won his most recent outing opposite Soa Palelei via TKO at UFC 190.
At this point in their careers, Hunt, 41, and Silva, 36, desperately need to start winning. With roster marauders like Stipe Miocic, Andrei Arlovski, Ben Rothwell and even Stefan Struve roaming the countryside, there is no time like the present to make one last run at gold.
And both fighters will have that opportunity to do so when they lock horns in a reboot at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia.
For Hunt, who remains one of the most heavy-handed entities in all of mixed martial arts, getting back in the win column is everything. Not only has he been stopped in each of his last two bouts, but he has won only once since knocking out Struve back in early 2013.
Not to mention that his professional record has now fallen to an average 10-10-1.
Needless to say, capturing a victory at his age may be the only way Hunt keeps fighting. He takes an unrealistic amount of punishment every time he steps inside of the cage. In order for that physical damage to count, he needs to be fighting for something. A belt is a good place to start.
As for Silva, who continues to thrive whenever the ceiling seems to be coming down on him, is only a win over Hunt away from reclaiming the divisional prestige he once possessed. Capturing his second-straight victory within one of the shallowest divisions in the UFC will go a long way entering 2016.
However, the hulking heavyweight has looked depleted of late. Chalk it up to old age or an inability to overcome a lack of testosterone, Silva’s athletic tank has sprung a leak. Luckily, the Brazilian’s ferocious knockout power remains a potent weapon.
Needless to say, the stars are aligning for Hunt vs. Silva II. It may not last as long or offer has many back-and-forth exchanges as their first encounter, but fireworks tend to go off when you pit two desperate veterans against one another.
For both men, losing could spell the end of their UFC career. They’ve arguably both earned the right to fight as long as their names can sell, but that doesn’t mean it will be worth it when it’s all said and done.
It’s disappointing to accept considering the division is weak as is, but giants are not supposed to live forever.
On Nov. 14, it will either be Hunt or Silva who stands tall when the heavyweight dust settles. The victor will earn the right to step back into contention, while the loser bargains for a bonvoyage.