The Filipino Wrecking Machine was one fight away from a shot at the UFC’s Middleweight Championship. The key word: “was”. Last Wednesday he ran into a wall by the name of Chris Weidman.
Munoz was scheduled to face Chael Sonnen with the winner getting a title shot against Anderson Silva. In their college days, Munoz beat Sonnen in a wrestling match. Boasting a heavier ground and pound as well as better submission game, many had Munoz as the favorite. Unfortunately, The Filipino fighter had to pull out of the fight due to bone spurs in his elbow. He went into surgery, while British fighter, Michael Bisping took his place. It was a fight Sonnen won via decision and went on to face Silva.
As for Mark Munoz, his first fight back happened just days after Anderson Silva retained his title by handily beating Sonnen via TKO in the second round. The main event of UFC on Fuel TV featured Munoz against up and comer Chris Weidman. A product of Serra-Longo Fight Team, he’s a well-rounded, fighter, with slick jiu jitsu who had yet to taste defeat. Weidman’s last fight was a decision win over one time contender, Damien Maia, who Munoz also has a win over.
Round one of their fight did not go in Munoz’s favor. He was taken down at will by Weidman and controlled. But if round one was a bad round for Munoz, round two would prove to be much worse. Weidman dropped the Filipino Wrecking Machine with an elbow, then pounded him into unconsciousness. A finish that even referee, Josh Rosenthal, admits went too long.
In the aftermath of this fight, Weidman now looks like a world beater. No longer an untested newcomer, but a top five middleweight, one who many are saying has the tools to uncrown the greatest MMA fighter today, Anderson Silva. While Mark Munoz finds himself at the bottom of the ladder. A loss like that knocks a contender down quite a bit. Ring rust had to have played a role in his defeat as he did not have that same spark he’s had in past fights.
The options for Mark Munoz are slim. He’s too big to cut down to welterweight and too small to head back up to light heavyweight. He’ll have to start from the bottom to work his way back up to title contention, and at 34 years old, it will be difficult. However, it’s not impossible. Let’s not forget that Mark Munoz is still one of the most talented fighters in the UFC’s middleweight division. He took a difficult fight after elbow surgery and it didn’t go his way. Once he comes back, I feel pity for the next fighter that has to run into a hungry, ready Filipino Wrecking Machine.