Mark Munoz has pushed his way up the UFC middleweight pecking order rather quickly since joining the company in 2009. While his debut – a knockout loss to Matt Hamill – didn’t go as planned, Munoz has reeled off wins in six of his last seven fights since, and heads into a main event match with Chris Leben looking to continue that trend.
Munoz-Leben will serve as a five-round, non-title fight main event at UFC 138, which takes place November 5 from Birmingham, England. Munoz is coming off three straight wins, while Leben is 4-1 in his last five fights.
The Oklahoma State University wrestling product has tried to develop himself as an all-around MMA fighter since joining Kings MMA to train for the Leben bout. Munoz feels his striking is getting closer to matching his excellent ground game.
“I’m ready for wherever the fight goes against Chris Leben. I’m a wrestler, so I’m gonna try to take him down, and I think he knows that, but at the same time, I’m confident with my striking,” said Munoz, in a recent interview with Tatame.com. “I’ve proven myself to be a good mixed martial artist and you are gonna see a mixed martial artist in there, no matter if it’s on the feet or on the ground, you are gonna see good aspects of both.”
Munoz put his striking on display in wins over Demian Maia and C.B. Dollaway earlier this year. Munoz defeated Maia by unanimous decision and earned his fifth career KO by stopping Dollaway less than a minute into their match.
“I felt like my weakness was striking, and so I always tell everybody that if you work on your weaknesses and make them your strength, you don’t have any weakness,” Munoz said. “I know I can get a powerful punch and I know I have a lot of power in my strikes, so I’m gonna use that.”