Surging UFC middleweight fighter Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz will appear in one of the most important fights of his career this weekend, taking on longtime UFC staple Chris Leben in the main event of UFC 138. Speaking with FightHubTV’s Marcos Villegas recently, Muñoz discussed the specific problems that Leben presents and how he plans on dealing with them on fight night.
Though this is far from a classic striker vs. grappler match-up, Muñoz’s strengths are clearly in the grappling department, while Leben is known best for his heavy-handed, hard-headed striking assault. Muñoz knows that Leben has the edge standing up, but is confident enough in his improved striking to throw hands (and feet, knees and elbows) with Leben for as long as he has to – though he isn’t hiding the fact that he’ll be trying to drag Leben into his world whenever the opportunity presents himself.
“You’re gonna see a lot of different things about me in this fight. I think my stand up has grown and I do have to stand with him a few times,” said Muñoz. “If we stand, I’m gonna feel comfortable standing, but I’m going to take the fight where I’m strong – and he knows that. But, I’m prepared to go wherever the fight goes.”
The ever-affable 33-year-old also spoke about his admiration for Leben and his pride in the fact that he’s elevated himself to the point where he’s fighting figures in the sport that he’s looked up to and modeled some of his style after.
“I’ve been a fan of Chris Leben’s, I like the guy. …A lot of people love him, just for his style of fighting and how he brings it inside the Octagon,” he said. “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m fighting the guys I admire, that I kinda of want to emulate. I’m at that level. Now I’m testing myself and now I want to reestablish my goals. In order to get where I want to go, I have to get past him and I’m gonna get past him for sure.”
The fight takes place this Saturday night, November 5, at the LG Arena in Birmginham, England. Check out FightHub’s video below for the full interview with Muñoz.