UFC middleweight Mark Munoz had the unenviable task of welcoming a debuting Lyoto Machida to the 185-puns division this past October. The fight didn’t last long with Machida claiming a knockout victory and a highlight reel head kick.
“Now that I did it, been there, done that, now I know what I need to work on,” Munoz told FIGHT! Magazine. “It’s not so much physical, it’s all mental. It was very difficult for me to fight somebody that I was training with just two weeks before. It was very difficult for me to just envision somebody else’s face on him. I’m not a guy that will choke somebody out or just submit them. I inflict a lot of damage on people. That’s what I do. I wouldn’t be called the wrecking machine for nothing.”
Munoz’ story about his last fight struck a cord as he stated that although it wasn’t an excuse, seeing his coaches in the opposing corner was something out of the ordinary:
“It was pretty difficult. I learned a lot through the process. I’ve just got to be able to flip the switch. I’ve told a lot of our fighters ‘when you get in there, you’ve got to flip the switch. Whether they’re a friend or not, you’ve got to flip it.’ What was kind of different was seeing my coaches in his corner, too. It’s neither here nor there, he won. He landed the kick. My three losses have been me getting kicked. I’ve got to learn from that. I’ve got to be able to take that and move forward.”
While Machida faces off against Gegard Mousasi in his next bout, another fight for Munoz has yet to be set up. After the last time Munoz lost, he came back strong with a dominant win over Tim Boetsch. If Munoz can solidify mentally and have a performance like he did against Boetsch in his last win, Munoz will return as a dangerous contender.