PERTH, Australia -- UFC veteran Mark Hunt insists he has no regrets over a foul-mouthed Instagram post he aimed at UFC president Dana White and is ready to put on a show in his comeback fight at UFC 221.
Given Robert Whittaker's withdrawal from the middleweight fight last month, it is Hunt's return that will likely garner most interest among local fans particularly after the Kiwi took to social media to attack White.
Upset at being scrubbed from UFC Sydney on "medical concerns," Hunt declared the decision "total bullshit" before saying White had "always hated him." Three months on, the New Zealander hasn't changed his tune, telling reporters in Perth he would never be stopped from speaking his mind.
"No, I never regret airing my grievances," Hunt said. "I like to speak the truth; if the guys didn't hear then that's fine, that's just the way it is...I don't regret nothing I say. I go out and speak the truth and that's all I'm [going to] do. If it costs me, it costs me."
Sunday's showdown with Blaydes will be Hunt's first fight since June last year when he defeated Derrick Lewis in a fourth-round TKO.
Having gone through virtually an entire training camp before he was told he couldn't fight in Sydney, and now a similar preparation once more, it's no surprise the 43-year-old Hunt is itching to get back into the Octagon.
"Yeah it's great for me to be fighting again," he said. "I missed out on Sydney, this is my second camp, so I'm looking forward to competing on Sunday and looking forward to locking horns with Curtis Blaydes. He's No.9, and we'll see who goes forward.
"I love fighting at home, there's nothing better. I wish I could have fought in Sydney so I could bring my family to watch me compete. I'm amped, I'm looking forward to fighting on Sunday and putting on a great show. Curtis is a great competitor, he's No.9 for a reason and we're going to kill each other. It's [going to] be great."
At just 26 years of age, Blaydes is 17 years Hunt's junior and that could be vital should Hunt come out in explosive fashion after a prolonged absence from the Octagon.
"This camp is almost like my past two camps, just working on my priming and distance; working on my striking and transitioning into takedowns," Blaydes said. "I'm prepared, I know he hits hard, I've fought heavy hitters before...I'm ready and excited to put on a battle for you guys."