Munoz: I Want To Be the Best in the Middleweight Division
By: Mike Whitman Nov 5, 2011
For those who haven’t been paying attention, Mark Munoz is
on a bit of a roll.
A winner in four straight fights, the “Filipino Wrecking Machine”
carved another notch into his belt on Saturday night, besting
Leben in the main event of UFC
138 at LG Arena in Birmingham, England.
“I knew I had to utilize angles against Chris Leben,” Munoz told
UFC.com following his win. “I couldn’t go straight forward against
him, because if I made it a brawling fight, he could catch me with
a left hand. So, I had to change my levels and utilize my
In a wild 10 minutes of middleweight action, Munoz (Pictured, file
photo) and Leben traded punches and takedowns, much to the delight
of the live audience. Leben brought to the fight some of the
sport’s most feared knockout power, as acknowledged by his
opponent. Similarly, Munoz’s ground-and-pound has developed its own
reputation as a potential fight-ender.
Unfortunately for Leben, it was Munoz’s tool that proved to be the
superior weapon on Saturday, as he clipped Leben with a bruising
right hook from top position that caused Leben to lose vision in
his left eye. As a result, the referee waved off the contest at the
conclusion of the second round.
“I didn’t want to get into a slugfest with him, because he’s been
known to knock people out when you stand in front of him,” said
Munoz. “I definitely wanted to go in and [strike and then] step
out. Then he’d come in [to strike] and I’d get the takedown.”
Though two years the elder of his opponent, Munoz appeared the
fresher man as the contest wore on and Leben took multiple heavy
breaths late in the second frame.
“I knew he was dwindling through the rounds,” Munoz said. “I felt
it after the first round, and then in the second round I just tried
to pour it all on him and finish him.”
Though Munoz counts UFC middleweight champion Anderson
Silva among his training partners, the 33-year-old politely
asked to be considered for a title shot in the near future.
“I’m here. I feel that I train extremely hard. I want to be the
best in the division,” said Munoz. “I’m working my way up, and that
fight, along with the fight before that one, gives me confidence
that I can be the best in the division.”