Mark Muñoz not ruling out MMA return

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 18, 2020 01:50 PM
Mark Muñoz not ruling out MMA return
"I would love to compete again just to let you know. I’m a competitor, I would love to step in there again.” - Mark Muñoz

It’s been a little over five years since Filipino-American mixed martial artist Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz retired from active competition. 

The full-blooded Pinoy who grew up in the United States was 37 years old when he called it a career, wrapping up his notable run as a middleweight in the UFC with a victory over Luke Barnatt in the promotion’s inaugural card in Manila back in 2015. 

Since retiring, Muñoz has been able to enjoy the time with his family while continuing to share his wealth of knowledge as a wrestling coach. 

Muñoz admits however that the itch of competition still hits him every now and then. After all, for about six years, he was one of the top contenders in the UFC’s stacked middleweight division. 

“Oh yeah. I mean, I’m training with guys now so [Ovince Saint Preux] came in and we trained and I went with him and I was like wow, I could really still do this,” Muñoz admitted in his interview on The Hitlist vodcast. Saint Preux, or OSP as people call him, is a veteran in the UFC as well. 

“I was holding my own against him, I was taking him down, controlling him and he was having trouble controlling me. It was a lot of fun,” Muñoz continued. 

The now-42 year old believes that he can still hold his own on the highest level of competition. 

“We could definitely get back inside the octagon. I mean I’m a competitor, I love competing. I love it and it’s still gonna be inside of me so when people come to the gym and just I’m ready to go. Right now, I’m still coaching.” 

In the combat sports world, retirements are often short-lived. In some cases, stars decide to make a return to competition even after years of being retired, like Georges St-Pierre, or Chuck Liddell. 

As for Muñoz, he says he’s not closing the door on a potential return to competition if for example a promotion like Asia-based ONE Championship makes an offer. 

“I would have to talk to my wife about that because for me right now life is good,” Muñoz said. “But I would love to compete again just to let you know. I’m a competitor, I would love to step in there again.” 

According to Muñoz, someone also wants to see him back is none other than reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion and fellow Filipino-American Brandon “The Truth” Vera, who he has a close relationship with. 

“I see Brandon Vera, he’s a brother from another mother for sure, and I love Brandon and he is a big reason why I’m where I’m at today because he was there since the beginning since I decided to fight.” 

Muñoz also shared that Vera extended an invitation to train in the Philippines. 

“He is doing so well in the Philippines. He wants me to come back. He was like ‘Mark pagbalik mo dito,’ He was like ‘come train with me, I’d take care of everything.’”

“But oh man, I got like four businesses going here now, it’s hard for me to leave. But yeah, I see all of that and it would be really hard for me to say no. Yeah, never say never,” Muñoz added.

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