Mark Muñoz took out well-regarded middleweight mainstay Chris Leben this past weekend in the main event of UFC 138, beating down The Crippler to the point where he was too injured to answer the bell for the third round. The victory was emphatic – if it wasn’t exactly the explosive finish fans had hoped for and expected – and Mu˜noz used his post-fight interview as a platform to respectfully call out UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Though he truly believes that he deserves a shot at the belt, Muñoz realizes that the opportunity may go to someone else (read: Chael Sonnen) first. He told ESPN UK following his victory over Leben that he’s open to facing anyone in the middleweight division and reacted warmly to the idea of a fight against current TUF 14 coach Michael Bisping.
“I could see that fight, Michael Bisping is a guy who has proven himself in this sport. He’s a great mixed martial artist,” said Muñoz. “I’d love to fight him, it’d be an honor to fight him just like it was an honor to fight Chris Leben. For me, I just want to improve every time, I trust in my team, and it’s a testament [to my team-mates] of how I am in the cage. I’m ready man, whoever they bring I’m ready.”
The 33-year-old may not have done quite enough to earn a shot at the title yet, but his impressive win certainly positioned him much nearer closer to that goal. On a four-fight winning streak and being one of the few fighters at the top who hasn’t already faced Silva, Muñoz is likely only an emphatic victory or two away from getting a chance to claim championship gold.