Mark Hunt: Walk-off knockout a sign of respect to downed opponents

In mixed martial arts (MMA), there isn’t anything sweeter than seeing a walk-off, one-punch knockout.

And no one does it better than hard-hitting UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt, who has made it a habit to end his fights in the blink of an eye with one well-placed hit; much to the chagrin of his opponents (see some of his handiwork here and here).

So, how does he do it?

As Hunt recently told Fighters Only, he’s hit enough people in his lifetime to know when he’s delivered the finishing blow. Also, the New Zealander says the walk-off is a sign of respect to his opponents, as he refuses to continue hitting a guy who’s already down for the count.

“The walkaway celebration is something that just happened, I really don’t know where and when it started. When I’m in there, the adrenaline is pumping and I’m just firing in shots, looking for the finish. It just kind of happens, I guess. When you get someone, when you catch them right, you just kind of know that that’s it. He’s in there doing the same thing, trying to shoot you down, so when it lands, that’s it. It’s over and the relief kicks in. You know it’s finished so you don’t have to chase him anymore. I’ve always had it, that feeling when you hit someone right and they go down. And it’s actually about respect. I’d like to think I’ve always respected my opponents in that way. You know, if you keep punching them after they’re knocked out, they could get brain damage or end up in the hospital. So, I just see it as a fight, nothing more. It’s not personal. I’m not stepping in there to hurt anybody. But if the man in front of me is still fighting then, you know, I’ll keep swinging.

Of course, a lot of Hunt’s knockouts can be attributed to his opponent’s mistakes — mistakes that Hunt has made, as well. Like the one against Fabricio Werdum a few months back, which ultimately cost him a championship fight (highlights).

“Over the years, I’ve thrown a lot of shots that have scored a lot of knockouts, but it was just the timing of that one. Roy’s a nice guy, you know. He’s a good fighter, but he made a mistake and I just caught him. Anytime you stand and trade in the pocket, you run the risk of being caught, and that’s what happened. I mean, I made a mistake against (Fabricio) Werdum, you know. I ate one of his knees. That night it was my turn to make the mistake and I paid for it.”

Hunt — who is on a two-fight losing streak — currently has an empty dance card. Anyone have any suggestions as to who “Super Samoan” should face next?

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