Surging UFC middleweight fighter Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz will fight in a UFC main event for the first time tomorrow night, taking on hard-headed bruiser Chris Leben in the promotion’s first non-title five round fight.
Heading into what will be his fourteenth professional fight, Muñoz appears to be hitting his stride, having married his stout wrestling pedigree with a continually developing striking game to become a well-rounded mixed martial artist who can threaten from most any position. This weekend represents the culmination of countless hours of hard work for Muñoz, who feels that his time has finally come as a result of that dedication.
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s awesome man,” Muñoz said of fighting in the main event at this week’s presser. “This is what we work for. This is why we’re here in the UFC. We want to be the best. I definitely want to be the best. I’m getting closer and closer and this is one of the steps to get there, so I’m definitely gonna take it.”
A victory this weekend would go a long way in setting Muñoz up as an eventual contender to the middleweight throne; standing in his way is UFC veteran Chris Leben, who poses a stiff threat to just about anyone on a given night. Leben also boasts a more proven striking arsenal than Muñoz’s most recent few opponents, as well as a more headlong approach to the fight in general. Muñoz knows this, but believes in his own abilities while standing and insists that Leben won’t have to look hard to find him on fight night.
“He throws bombs. He does. I throw bombs too, so bombs away,” he said. “It’s gonna be an exciting fight for sure, because he brings it and I bring it. He’s different because he brings the fight, he comes to fight, he’s a natural-born fighter and I bring the fight too. That’s why Joe Silva and Dana put this match-up together, because we both bring it. It’s gonna be exciting for sure.”
UFC 138: Leben vs. Muñoz goes down tomorrow, November 5, from the LG Arena in Birmingham, England. FightLine will be back tomorrow starting at 12:30pm ET with live, ongoing coverage of the fights.