Alistair Overeem touched up South Auckland's finest Mark Hunt with a couple of hefty knees at UFC 209, leaving us to contemplate a confusing future for Hunt.
Overeem put himself back in the frame for another tilt at the heavyweight belt after losing his title fight against Stipe Miocic back in September last year and showed some low key toughness in doing so. After the fight it became known that Overeem battled food poisoning in the 24 hours before this fight and Overeem then ate a few shots from Hunt, along with some harsh kicks before landing the winning knees.
It's the sort of win for Overeem that the heavyweight division needed as the division is now rebuilding its stocks, we just don't know where Hunt will feature now.
Had Hunt been able to beat Overeem, he would have put himself in a stronger position as his battle against the UFC and the crusade against PED-users continues. Making a habit voicing his opinion at any opportunity on this matter, it was kinda weird to see/hear Hunt go down this route in his pre-fight media stuff. Right now it feels as though the battle Hunt is fighting outside the octagon is consuming all of his energy and that's cool because this is our dude standing up for what's right, yet with every loss the volume of his voice or power of his opinion decreases.
Ignoring the no-contest against Brock Lesnar, Hunt has two wins and a loss from his last three fights. That sounds pretty slick but expand that out and Hunt has two wins in his last five fights, which when surrounded by the context of being a 42-year-old who is facing off agaisnt the UFC rather than working with the UFC, makes you wonder what is next for Hunt.
I don't doubt that the UFC and Hunt will collaborate as professionals and Hunt will fight again this year, but his desire to win the heavyweight title is looking like a distant dream at this point.
This now allows scope for Hunt to take fights for the purse and to continue to do what he loves doing - knocking blokes out - but other than enjoying the financial rewards, it's difficult to see any positives from Hunt continuing to take punishment.
We just don't know what is next for Hunt and not only is there uncertainty for his future in the octagon, he's in a very delicate position with his employer. Hunt will most likely have to take a fight with someone ranked on the fringes of the top-10 and there's a trio of fighters there who would all be decent match ups for Hunt; Andrei Alovksi, Travis Browne and Stefan Struve.
We do however know what is next for our quasi-kiwi UFC fighter Robert Whittaker. The Middlemore-born cuzzy has been booked to fight Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza for UFC Fight Night in Kansas City on April 15. Jacare is coming fresh off two 'Performance Of The Night' wins and he's 7-1 in the UFC and our lad is on a six-fight win streak.
Whittaker (#6) has been making waves in the middleweight division, so a fight against Souza (#3) is the perfect opportunity for him to seriously push his case for a title-contender fight. Champion Michael Bisping has been booked to fight George St. Pierre later this year and with Yoel Romero sniffing around for a title shot after that, Whittaker has to keep stacking up wins and a fight against Jacare will allow us to really gauge Whitaker's title credentials. Especially after he smoked a far-too-eager Derek Brunson in his last outing.