The Filipino-American has long been competing at elite levels beginning at Vallejo High School, where he was a two-time State Champion, Asics First Team All-American, 1995 National High School Champion, 1996 NHSCA National High School Champion, and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Additionally, Munoz moved on to win a silver medal for the USA Junior National Team and soon thereafter enrolled at Oklahoma State University.
Munoz’ famed work ethic helped him compile 121 overall wins, earn two-time All-American honors, and a NCAA National Championship as a senior in 2001. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Health Science from the University, Munoz spent time coaching as an assistant at Oklahoma State and UC Davis as well.
Having the fire to compete still burning inside, Munoz made a successful transition to mixed martial arts in 2007, where he won his debut by way of first-round knockout.
Having totaled a dozen victories since his professional fighting debut and a long tenure near the top of the middleweight rankings, Munoz has a natural motivation in continuing on his journey as a world-class athlete.
“I’ve always been a competitive guy and never thought I’d be punching and kicking people in the face for a living,” Munoz told MMAWeekly.com. “This is what I’m doing and with this I’ve been privileged and honored to have impacted and left a lasting impression on kids and adults alike. That’s what it’s all about for me.
“Family is my first and foremost that I love to impact and leave a legacy with. I like to make an impact on people, with the gym I have, with the anti-bullying campaign I do, the motivational speaking engagements I have around Orange County (California). I love to speak with people about their life experiences and their life choices both shaping and molding them into the people they become. That’s what I love to do and through the sport of MMA and wrestling I’m able to do that. It’s about providing for my family and giving them a better life than I lived and at the same time it’s about spreading my knowledge and helping people as well.”
For a man that has spent the majority of his life competing at the highest possible level in each sport he’s tried his hand at, Munoz has his own ways of enjoying every moment that comes his way.
“The most enjoyable part is getting to know each individual person,” Munoz said. “I love impacting those that I’m around. By doing that, I love seeing what makes them tick and be a better friend, coach, or mentor to them. That’s how I kind of view things.
“Obviously, with me being a coach, I went to UC Davis and coached there, I was getting my master’s (degree) in sports psychology, so I could be a better coach. In that, I learned to communicate and to be able to impact individuals more by learning their different learning styles, their different personality styles, and what makes them tick. I think of it like figuring out a riddle for a person and once I get it it’s like okay this is how they learn and this is how they execute it in a live situation. That’s what I love to do, I love to teach, and that’s been the most enjoyable in being able to be there and help people. I love doing that and now people are doing that for me, so it goes both ways.”
Having formed one of the sport’s most talent rich gyms, Munoz’ Reign Training Center in California plays a vital role in his desire to leave positive impressions upon others.
It’s natural for an athlete to face positives and negatives, just as many of us do in our own professional careers. As we try to decipher the code of success in our own ways, Munoz has proudly strived to do the same during along his journey.
“Obviously, there have been ups and there have been downs much like in somebody’s lifetime there’s going to be up and downs,” Munoz explained. “It’s through the downs where you really appreciate the ups and where in my career in the losses I’ve learned a lot about myself. Not just in the fight game, not just in MMA, but in life in general. There was a lot of stuff that was going on and then there are things that I had to fix. It mirrors life so much with MMA and wrestling. When I’m talking to people I’ve tried to equate that to life. There’s unforeseen things that happen to you. Like, when (Chris) Weidman elbowed me in the head, I didn’t see that coming. In the week of that I had to deal with a broken foot, the worst weight cut I’ve ever had, and then having to sit out a year, and gaining a bunch of weight. I gained like 76 pounds; there was a lot of stuff going on with me there. I really had to bear down and figure out what’s going on and find solutions that were going to help me get back being successful and doing things right again.
“When unforeseen things happen to you like in life, when the doctor diagnoses you with cancer…