Mark Hunt brushes off retirement talk, ready to prove he's still 'one of the best fighters on the planet'

UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt faces a tough test in Moscow on Saturday against Aleksei Oleinik. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC veteran Mark Hunt won't rule out fighting beyond his current contract as he prepares for his next showdown with Russian Aleksei Oleinik in Moscow this weekend.

But the "Super Samoan" remains angry at the way his protests against performance-enhancing drugs have been handled by UFC administrators, blasting the sport's custodians and those athletes he says are nothing more than "shortcut takers."

"I didn't want to be in this position to be suing a company for whatever reasons but I just got sick of competing against guys who have the advantages, and I've got a lot of different injuries from fighting these guys that are just cheating," Hunt told ESPN. "And I've said a few times that we just need to sort it out. But like I said I don't want to be in this position but you [UFC] give me no choice; I'm not going to keep competing and trying to fight against these guys with advantages.

"It's not an even playing field in there. There's guys that are on steroids should just piss right off and go f---ing do some other bullcrap. I'm sick of it. To me they're nothing but shortcut takers; you take away their steroids and they're f---ing nothing."

Hunt is currently suing the UFC, its president Dana White and fighter Brock Lesnar after the former WWE wrestler tested positive for banned substances, Clomiphene and 4-Hydroxyclomiphene, following their heavyweight clash at UFC 206 in 2016.

Lesnar could soon return to the Octagon in a heavyweight title fight against champion Daniel Cormier now that his one-year suspension has been served. Lesnar still needs to complete UFC's anti-doping program. The United States Anti-Doping Agency says he re-enrolled in July and "will be able to compete on or after Jan. 8, 2019, should he remain in compliance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy." That said, it continues to anger Hunt that fighters continue to ignore the sport's anti-doping rules.

"Well, look, man, it took three of four fights to understand what this was all about and it's not an even playing field anymore," Hunt told ESPN of his continued frustrations. "These guys are a lot bigger and stronger and faster because of the steroids, so what am I going to do?

"I can't keep complaining about it so that's why we have a lawsuit; I'm sick of them getting paid for cheating. They shouldn't get a cent these f---ing shortcut takers...it's not a good look for any sport, for anything."

Inside the Octagon, Hunt is determined to climb back up the heavyweight rankings. Currently at No. 8 in the division, he will fight for the first time since a unanimous decision defeat to Curtis Blaydes at UFC 223 in Perth, Australia.

"I got a bit greedy with the first round and then I got out-wrestled," Hunt said of the loss to Blaydes. "In the end, I lost the fight; it's just the way it is. It's called mixed martial arts, not just striking. He was the better fighter on the night, I lost fair and square. So we move on."

Blaydes controlled the closing rounds of that contest and the longer the fight wore on the more Hunt struggled. But he won't be drawn into retirement, hinting he could fight on beyond his current UFC deal if for nothing more than one very good reason.

"Well, man, the taxman still calls. It's not like I'm going to get away with that m-----f-----," a laughing Hunt told ESPN. "But at the end of the day I love competing and I'm still one of the best fighters in the world. And the money's great, I'm still chasing my dream; I'm still trying to be the best in the world.

"I've got three fights to try and get a bit closer. But I love competing still and like I said, I still feel like I'm one of the best fighters on the planet, even with these f---ing steroid cheating monkeys around."

Hunt's career continues this weekend as part of the UFC's first foray onto Russian soil. A matchup with local favourite Oleinik at UFC Fight Night 136 awaits, Hunt is eager to fight in a country where he previously competed as an amateur combat sports athlete.

"Thirteen years ago I was there with the Australian team for the amateur world Muay Thai championships," Hunt said. "But Russia is going to probably be a bit different; I'm looking forward to going to Russia, they just had the Olympics. I'm looking forward to headlining another opening card in another country, which is great."

On what Oleinik brought to the Octagon, Hunt added: "Well he's a grappler and he's got that ezekiel choke. But pretty much I'm just looking forward to doing what I'm doing; I've been working hard on building up my strength.

"He calls me out before about this, so I've got a present for him and I'll wrap it up really nice. I'm looking forward to this match in Russia, it's going to be great."