by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com
Former WEC contender turned UFC prospect Mark Munoz is set to make his third appearance in the Octagon at Saturday night’s UFC 108 in Las Vegas.
After earning his first victory under the UFC banner this past August over Nick Catone by split decision, Munoz has now rededicated himself to the sport by approaching it from all angles. New training partners and training regimens are his tools to victory.
“I had an awesome camp,” stated the Sacramento, Calif., native while speaking with MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“Phil Davis was one of (the members of my camp), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. I worked with Anderson Silva, Jason Lambert… I trained with Muhammed (King Mo) Lawal. It’s a great camp. I couldn’t have asked for a greater camp.”
Though successful in his debut as a middleweight in the fight with Catone, the decision to drop a weight class was something that Munoz struggled with for some time.
“I was asking, a lot of people were speculating, whether I should be 205 or 185 and when I looked at some of the (UFC fighters), I was like, ‘you know what? I think 185 is definitely the right weight class for me.'”
With weighty-issues behind him, Munoz prepares himself for his third fight in the UFC, opposite veteran Ryan Jensen. Jensen is also coming off of his first win in the Octagon with a submission victory over Steve Steinbeiss this past September.
Having trained with Jensen briefly in the past, the 31-year-old Munoz was somewhat familiar with his game, though having done his homework, he found himself impressed with Jensen’s now well-rounded game.
“I knew a little bit about him,” said the Capital City Fighting Alliance team member.
“I didn’t know a lot about him, so I definitely looked him up. I saw that he fought three times in the UFC and then he fought in Strikeforce. I did my research and stuff and he is a well rounded opponent. He likes to strike on the feet and he’s got some wrestling skills and he’s got some pretty good jiu-jitsu. I’m excited to go in there and fight Ryan; it’s going to be a good one. It’s going to be a great fight.”
A highly decorated wrestler, Munoz was able to capture an NCAA title, the largest honor as a collegiate wrestler, while attending Oklahoma State University.
His roots grounded in his wrestling, “The Philippine Wrecking Machine” has acknowledged that to become successful in mixed martial arts, a blend of all styles is imperative.
Continuing to add to his arsenal, Munoz has worked diligently on his boxing in an effort to continue his winning ways. If the opportunity for a takedown presents itself, you better believe he’ll take it, but don’t be surprised if you see Munoz test the waters and show everyone that hard work pays off.
“If there’s a little chink there in his wrestling then I’m definitely going to take him down,” said the former All-American, but don’t be surprised if you see him winging for the knockout.
“If he defends my takedowns then let’s mix it up on the feet. I definitely know that I’ve improved on my stand-up. I worked constantly on it, day after day in the morning on a regular basis, so that’s for me to prove and show everyone that I improved my stand-up.”