LAS VEGAS – Mark Muñoz smiled as he walked down the halls of the MGM Grand Hotel, where his next fight will be this Saturday, July 6. It’s hard to imagine that the fighter went through a difficult period after losing to Chris Weidman a year ago.
Munoz suffered injuries before and during the match against the current No. 1 contender, but according to him that was not what led to a bout of depression, as well as questioning whether the 35-year-old would like to continue fighting professionally.
In an interview with GRACIEMAG.com, the middleweight vented about his troubled time, talked about the joy of returning to the Octagon and expressed admiration for Anderson Silva. Check it out:
GRACIEMAG: Mark, we can see that you are very well physically and quite happy, but we know that you went through a critical moment of your life after the loss to Weidman. How was this period for you?
MARK MUNOZ: Actually, it was a period of rediscovery of my love for MMA. I didn’t get into depression because of the loss to Weidman, I went into a process of questioning why I was being put away from doing what I love most, which is to fight. I was close to a title shot, many people mentioned my name. Losing a fight is a consequence. I wasn’t well already and I ended up hurting myself even more. At that point I asked myself, “And now what am I gonna do?” The food became an escape. When I got the call from the UFC about a new fight, it looked like a light went on. In a few months, I turned the doubt into certainty, and here I am.
On Saturday, you face Tim Boetsch, a tough guy who also had a good streak of wins until fighting Costa Philippou in his last outing. How is the preparation for this challenge and how do you see the fight going?
I’m happy to face a tough guy like him. It means that the UFC sees me able to go through this challenge. I want to return to the top and, to do so, I need to face the best. Nobody said it was easy. I am more confident than ever. We both go for knockouts, but I’m better on the floor. It sure will be a good fight. I had to lose a lot of weight, but as you can see I’m fine and calm.
In the main event of UFC 162, we have the fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. How do you see this fight?
It is hard to say something and not sound tendentious. I’m a fan of Anderson Silva and we have a good relationship of friendship. His movement in the Octagon is awesome. Everyone says he will be in an unfavorable situation if the gets taken down by Weidman, but I don’t believe the opponent will be able to do this. Anderson has great takedown defense and his Jiu-Jitsu is infinitely better than Weidman’s. I believe in the victory of the champion.