It was one thing after another for Mark Munoz.
First he had to pull out of a title eliminator with Chael Sonnen due to an elbow injury. Then he rushed back and got knocked out by Chris Weidman. Then he had to sit out a year with a broken foot.
“I was like, ‘Man, when it rains it pours, and it’s not just pouring -- there’s a tornado right now hitting my heart, soul and mind. It’s really challenging me, challenging my character and my faith,’” Munoz told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “It was truly, truly hard and I questioned myself, like, ‘Is this really something I’m supposed to be doing?’”
Munoz entered the bout against Weidman on a four-fight win streak. Despite his success inside the cage, though, his life outside it had become chaotic.
“I’m a guy that kind of wears my heart on my sleeve,” he said. “If there’s things that are going on in my life, in my personal life, it goes into my training. That’s what was happening with me. I was missing a lot of my kids’ events. I wasn’t thoughtful towards my wife. The gym was kind of going under, and I was doing speaking engagements all over. I was just too busy.”
After a difficult training camp, Munoz caught a brutal elbow from Weidman and was finished 1:37 into the second round. It was a tough loss to swallow, but everything that went wrong before, during and after the bout may have happened for a reason.
“Now I’ve got my life back in order,” Munoz said. “I’ve been delegating at the gym. Now I’m more thoughtful with my wife and ... with my kids. My training is planned out more strategic. Everything that happens in my life, I’ll never take back, but I definitely learned. This was a great learning experience for me and I’m looking to put an updated version of myself in when I fight at UFC 162.”
Standing across from Munoz on Saturday will be Tim Boetsch, another fighter who was closing in on a title shot before suffering a setback in his most recent bout.
“He’s been up there,” Munoz said. “We’ve been fighting consistently for a long time and we’re both considered UFC vets. With a win, it definitely puts us back in the mix somewhere. For myself, I want to reach the top. I’m ready. I had some adversity and some trials I had to work through, but with a win over Tim, I think it will definitely put me in the mix.”
The middleweight matchup will take place on the UFC 162 main card. Munoz is expecting a high-paced fight that could go the full 15 minutes.
“You’re going to see a lot of transitions from striking to wrestling to ground-and-pound and jiu-jitsu,” Munoz said. “You’re going to see a lot of cage work. I’m the type of guy that’s always active. I don’t hold people down just to score points. I don’t just jab people just to score points. I look to end the fight everywhere I’m at. You’re definitely going to see bombs flying when you watch me fight, and I truly believe Tim is going to do the same because he’s a competitor. Just don’t blink because you’re going to miss something.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:12).