Mark Munoz has come a long way in the last two years. Since making an inglorious UFC debut on the receiving end of a highlight-reel head kick from Matt Hamill, the former NCAA champion wrestler has navigated the depths of the middleweight division while ripping through a 6-1 record to claim a top-5 ranking at 185 pounds. Now, as he sits on the fringe of title contention, Munoz faces the bizarre prospect of fighting men he once looked up to.
I've been a fan of Chris Leben. I like the guy. And everybody I've met says ‘man, oh man, I love Chris Leben.' A lot of people love him just because his style of fighting and just how he brings it inside the Octagon. So I've been a fan of Chris Leben, and I've gotten to the point where I'm fighting the guys I admire, that I kind of want to emulate. I'm at that level. Now I'm testing myself and now I want to reestablish my goals, and I order to get to where I want to go, I got to get past him.