When Mark Munoz got the call that he was going to face old friend Aaron Simpson for his last fight at UFC 123 in November, he admitted he was less than excited.
Munoz and Simpson had been friends for years and worked together around the collegiate wrestling circuit. Still, they were able to put their friendship aside and battle it out, with Munoz coming out on top.
Then came the call about Munoz’s next fight. Low and behold, he was fighting Simpson’s teammate and close friend C.B. Dollaway. While Munoz says he and Dollaway aren’t as close as he and Simpson, it was still just one of those days for the former NCAA champion.
“I was just like ‘are you serious?’ I’m basically fighting like the same fighter,” Munoz joked when he appeared on MMAWeekly Radio. “It’s cool, in the UFC it’s all about putting on good fights, and C.B., he comes forward, and I truly believe Aaron and I had the fight of the night that night. The UFC matches us up and they think we’re going to be another exciting fight.
“It does make sense, but at the same time it’s like why does everybody I have to fight wrestle? It’s all good though.”
Munoz and Dollaway were around the same wrestling circuits while Munoz was coaching at his alma mater, Oklahoma State, and Dollaway was being coached by Aaron Simpson at Arizona State. Munoz also trained briefly in Arizona alongside Dollaway, although he says they never directly sparred or trained with each other.
At the end of the day, Munoz knows it’s all about business and fighting Dollaway is just a job, and he’ll get the job done this Thursday in Louisville, Ky.
“It’s what we do,” Munoz stated. “We signed to fight for the UFC, and you’re going to get guys that you know.”
With Munoz and Dollaway set up as the co-main event for the UFC on Versus 3 show, there’s no denying the winner vaults up the middleweight ranks. While neither would be sniffing a title shot tomorrow, it can’t be denied that a win on Thursday starts to bring either’s name up in contender conversations.
That’s where the friendship problem actually comes into play for Mark Munoz.
You see, Munoz trains alongside UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva on a daily basis, and even though he knows that he’s not challenging for a title right now, he’s kind of hoping their careers both go up, but they never have to collide with each other.
“That’s a hard question to answer. Because I love Anderson, I respect him as a teammate, and part of the family. Blackhouse accepts me in as one of their own, and I do the same. I try to give as much as I can to Anderson and he does the same for me. That’s definitely a hard thing, that’s definitely one thing we’ll cross the bridge when we get there,” Munoz said.
“I wouldn’t want to fight him, so hopefully he just goes up to 205 and does super fights. I don’t think he’d want to fight me either.”
For now, Munoz will concentrate on the task at hand of beating C.B. Dollaway, and worry about other possibilities another day.