Mark Munoz made it clear that Saturday would be the last time he would compete as a mixed martial artist. Munoz was able to accomplish what so few professional athletes could, leave on top. So many time we see fighters stick around too long and they pay the price inside the cage. Not only did Munoz walk away with the win on Saturday, he did so in front of his fellow Filipinos.
The UFC made its debut in the Philippines on Saturday and the Filipino-American Munoz made it a priority to be on this card. Coming into Saturday’s bout Munoz was riding a three fight losing streak. In all three bouts he had been finished, twice by submission. He also had only one win in his last five bouts. It was his recent troubles inside the octagon that lead Munoz to start thinking about retirement. But none of that mattered on Saturday. Munoz only had to give 15 minutes to leave on a high note and that he did.
Munoz faced the young English fighter Luke Barnatt. From the opening bell Munoz had the crowd in his corner and used that energy to carry him to a unanimous decision victory. Munoz’ heavy hands and grappling skills pressured Barnatt who had no answers for the power of Munoz.
Munoz made his professional debut in 2007 after a decorated college wrestling career. It only took him two years to make it into the UFC. He lost his debut match against Matt Hamill but bounced back nicely to win his next three bouts. Munoz compiled a 9-6 record while in the UFC and though he never did quite make it to the title picture he did fight against current and former champions and title contenders including Yushin Okami, Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi, and Lyoto Machida.
Below is Munoz’ post fight speech. It is a must see and is filled with his raw emotion, gratitude, perspective, and future ambitions.