Mark Munoz looking for “a clear cut victory” and to “stand out of the crowd”


Perennial middleweight contender Mark Munoz talks to Tom Rooney about getting back to his wrestling roots and how much he enjoys being an unofficial ambassador for the UFC as they continue to wade into unchartered territory around the globe.

The ‘Filipino Wrecking Machine’ is probably not the most appropriate moniker for an arriving emissary looking to spread goodwill, but for the third time in his UFC career Mark Munoz will headline a UFC event in Europe, when he takes on Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 41 in Berlin on May 31st.

The genial 36-year-old is flattered that his employers have entrusted him to fly the company flag on foreign soil with such frequency (he’s also fought in Canada and Abu Dhabi) and is also happy to broaden his horizons in the process, while welcoming the challenge of competing in unfamiliar environments.

“I’m privileged and honoured that the UFC gives me the opportunity to unlock different parts of the globe to MMA and the UFC. I definitely want to be a good ambassador for the UFC, and MMA in general.

“I truly believe that when you get out of your comfort zone that you grow, because there isn’t any growth in comfort. Being able to fight in different countries, cultures and traditions that you’re not accustomed to, it gives you resilience, which is the most common characteristic among successful champions and leaders.

“I enjoy it quite a lot; I’ve never been to Germany; how often do you get to hope on a plane and travel to different parts of the world and do what you love? It’s pretty awesome to be able to do that.”

There is, of course, the not so small matter of locking horns with Mousasi, and distinguishing himself from the every-growing group of potential title contenders at 185lbs.

“There’s definitely a lot of dust-ups up in the air right now, and there’s some fights to play out and, when the dust settles, we’ll see who is on top. Right now I need to have a clear cut victory and be able to stand out of the crowd. Every time you step in the octagon you have to put your best foot forward and hope for the best.”

That his best course of action to defeat Mousasi is not exactly a case for the X-Files, is somewhat liberating for Munoz, and he looks forward to the forthcoming battle.

“It’s no secret at all; Gegard knows I’m going to close the gap and take him down, but at the same time I’m comfortable on my feet, so we’ll see. I truly feel I’m putting together a good game plan and I look forward to fighting Gegard.

“I think it’s quite exciting to know what you’re strengths are and be able to execute them inside the octagon. I’m excited to see if he’s going to be able to defend what I’m going to execute on May 31st.”

In the nascent stages of his camp, Munoz has been training extensively with Chael Sonnen at his base in Lake Forrest, California and after a prolonged period of uncertainty including a battle with depression, as well as a KO loss at the hands of Lyoto Machida, he has re-embraced what’s familiar to him most; wrestling.

“I got away from wrestling quite a bit and tried to concentrate more on the jiu-jitsu and the striking aspect of the game, and it just had my mind clouded, so to speak. There was so much of my game disconnected, and being a Mixed Martial Artist you have to have fluid transitions between all the disciplines. I don’t ever want to feel that I don’t know what to do in type of situation inside the octagon.”

By Tom Rooney – @oldmanrooney

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