On Monday afternoon, MMA Fight Corner’s Heidi Fang caught up with UFC Middleweight Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz (12-3, MMA) at Xyience’s booth at the NACS Show in Las Vegas, NV. He shed light on his plans for his post-MMA fighting career, when we can expect him back in the Octagon, who he wants to fight and more.
The last two-and-a-half weeks, Munoz has been cornering fighters from his Reign MMA Training Center at Invicta FC 3 in Kansas and UFC on FX TV 5 in Minnesota. In his first stop, Mark cornered UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FX 5. Ellenberger got even with Jay Hieron defeating him via unanimous decision in the co-main event.
At Invicta FC 3, Jessica Penne became the promotion’s first Atomweight Champion. She defeated Naho Sugiyama with a triangle in the 2nd round. Also at Invicta, Kaiyana Rain made her professional MMA debut with the promotion, but lost dropping a decision to Tecia “Tiny Tornado” Torres.
Penne became Invicta’s first ever champion and Munoz said that winning the belt was a direct result of her hard work. “It’s just a testament of her work ethic and what she’s been doing inside the gym and everything she does outside the gym is catered to her success inside the cage.”
As for Ellenberger, he successfully rebounded from his knockout loss to Martin Kampmann in The Ultimate Fighter Live finale in June. He also evened the score with Jay Hieron, to whom he suffered his first professional loss to in the IFL. “He’s got a work ethic for days and he’s gonna work, and work, and work to get better,” Munoz said of Jake’s effort to get back in the win column. “Sometimes you gotta pull the reins back with him because he works too hard.”
As for Kaiyana, Munoz said she’ll get right back into another fight and improve from her loss. Having gained some professional experience, Munoz expects she’ll return even stronger. “She’s new. She’s straight off of the amateur ranks and she’s coming into her own right now with becoming a pro. She came up short that last fight, but there’s a lot of little things that could have made a huge difference and a huge impact in her fight and competition points out those weaknesses. We gotta go back to the gym and drill the things that we need to improve on, and she’s gonna go back and do well.”
Munoz added that he’s dedicated to coaching each of these fighters and stated that once his fighting days are over, he wants to have a career in coaching. But for now, Munoz is focused on returning to full health and making a run at the UFC middleweight title. In July, Mark Munoz faced Chris Weidman in the main event on UFC on FUEL TV. Weidman hit Munoz with a brutal elbow and followed up with strikes that put Munoz out. The fight ended in a TKO victory for Weidman in the second round. Since then, Munoz has been out of commission, but said he could return in a few months.
“I’m planing to come back as soon as possible. I do have an injury here, but I’m not going to let it stop me. This is perspective for me. I’ve had kind of a tough year this year with having an elbow injury and coming back from surgery and then rushing back into a fight which probably I could have taken a little bit more time off, and then, sustaining this injury. Suffice to say, I’ve learned a lot. It wasn’t quite me in that last fight. I’m going to redeem myself with a fight coming up, whoever I fight,” Munoz promised. “I fought a lot of times in two years, I think that would have been my eighth fights in two years. And I’m very active so, I’m just kind of going to take it easy. This is my body’s way of telling me. It was like camp, after camp, after camp. I was fighting every three, four months. I’m going to take some time off and get back into it and just be a raging bull when I get back in the cage again. I’m planning probably around February or so, we’ll see how my body heals up.”
Following the fight with Weidman, the doctor told Munoz after he was X-rayed that his right foot was almost completely broken.”I didn’t know my foot was fractured at all. I didn’t know there was a stress fracture.” The doctor was in disbelief that Munoz fought on it in the first place. ”My bone was actually fractured. They actually put me in a boot.”
Munoz explained that he was told to keep off the foot as much as possible and not to do anything too strenuous. But, Munoz aggravated the fracture in what he though was light activity. He did a combo and instantly knew he’d broke it all the way. In his recovery thus far, he’s managed to avoid surgery and hopes in about 3 weeks more weeks, he should be able to start training again. Munoz added that he’s “just going to wait until [his] body’s fully recovered and start training and then get that title. I want that title so bad.”
Being out right now is obviously not what Munoz wants with the race to become the next contender at middleweight tightening up. Michael Bisping has likely made his case for the title shot next, but Munoz believes his name is still near the top of the list of contenders. “Despite what anybody might think or say, I see myself as a number one contender,” Munoz stated. “I see myself becoming a world champ. It’s not going to change my destination. I might have a little detour, but it’s not going to change my destination for sure.”
This weekend Munoz will be spectating as Anderon “The Spider” Silva faces off against Stephan Bonnar in a non-title fight at UFC 153. In his opinion, even if Bonnar pulls off the upset, there’s no denying the greatest of Anderson Silva. “If Bonnar wins, that would kind of change the perspective of Anderson and kind of his reign right now. The guy is unstoppable. People have seen kind of his reign, I mean, he’s beat everybody. There’s some chinks in his armor, as far as wrestling, and all that stuff, but the guy is a competitor, he’s a champion. And the reason he’s a champion is because he finds a way to win every time,” Munoz said.
He then added that competing in MMA means fighters, even “The Spider” himself, have to constantly prove themselves over and over again, no matter how many wins they’ve notched. “Unfortunately we’re a part of a sport where we’re a victim of your last performance. If you win, awesome. If you lose, despite the winning streak that you’ve been on, you’re just as good as your last performance. It’s just crazy how that is. But having said that I think that’d put a damper on to what he’s done for the sport in some people’s eyes.” For the record, Munoz was on a 4-fight win streak before losing to Weidman.
When The Filipino Wrecking Machine does return, he said he’s looking to take a fight that gets his name back on the map. “I’d like to have a rematch with Weidman, I’d like to fight Bisping. There’s a lot of guys out there. The fact of the matter is, I want a fight that’d get me back on track to becoming a world champ. I definitely want to redeem myself on my last performance and show people that I’m a man that learns from his mistakes. And for me, champions aren’t measured by how many wins they have, but how they pick themselves after a loss. That’s the true meaning of a champion and that’s what I want to show.”
While Munoz remains sidelined fans can see him in “Here Comes the Boom” starring Kevin James. He’s also currently developed a charity on his website MarkMunozMMA.com in association with UFC Asia that’s currently accepting donations for ‘Flood Relief for the Phillipines’.
“Heidi Fang” is the greatest name in the history of MMA media. And she backs it up with a great interview, too.
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