This Wednesday brings us another UFC card, and with it, hopefully, a clear cut contender for the middleweight division. After this past Saturday's UFC 148, it has left many wondering who exactly will be next in line to get a crack at Anderson Silva. It is doubtful that Chael Sonnen will be getting another shot anytime soon, if at all, so now the MW division's jumble needs to be sorted out. Mark Munoz vs. Chris Weidman appears to be a logical place to start, and for Munoz, he's made no bones about the fact that he's tired of waiting in the wings quietly. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Mark talks about making his point loud and clear, he wants that shot at the belt, and he wants it now.
Stephie Daniels: Talk about your training camp and how you're getting prepared for Chris Weidman.
Mark Munoz: My training camp has gone great. I have a new and improved elbow going into this fight, so it's Mark Munoz 2.0 and I feel good. My weight has been managed well, so I no huge cut.
Stephie Daniels: You always come in to your fights in shape and healthy. Are you using a personal nuitritionist ot just managing your diet and cuts yourself?
Mark Munoz: A healthy cut, fo me, is all based around diet. You've got to make your body like a furnace. You've just got to constantly burn, and if you're trying to cut water too early, which is totally wrong, and a lot of fighters tend to do, it's going to dramatically decrease the level of your performance. I've got long camps. I end up with 14 or 15 week camps, and I literally transform myself into a whole different body.I try to make sure I limit the amount of water that I have to cut so that I'm hydrated all the way up to the day before the weigh ins. I use Krzysztof Soszynski as my nutritionist. He's helped tremendously with my last couple cuts, cooks all my meals, and I feel great on his system.
Stephie Daniels: You mentioned that you have long, 14-15 week training camps. Is there any worry that you might be over-training?
Mark Munoz: People always tell me that I'm over-training. Not every practice is high intensity. A lot of it is just drilling and improving your skills. It's not about just sparring or weight training all the time. I break it up, peak my body, then I rest it, and continue on the same circuit like that. I'm just a guy that works hard. I truly believe that nobody works harder than me.
Stephie Daniels: How have you prepared yourself for Chris technique-wise, especially since you both have similar styles? Do you just go in business as usual, or were there any significant changes to accommodate this fight?
Mark Munoz: Chris is a tough guy and poses a significant problem to guys that don't have a good wrestling base. There's a reason he's undefeated right now. He uses his wrestling to set up chokes, and he uses his jiu jitsu to control people. His striking is good because he uses his length and jab effectively. He's also got a good cross. I think my pressure game is going to make the difference in this fight. I like to make the fight dirty. I don't fight dirty, but I make my fights dirty, if that makes any sense. I make them work the whole time, and really put a test to their conditioning. I'm never going to be the guy that just scores points. I look to end the fight. That's what I'm looking to do against Chris. Another thing that will make a difference is my power. I throw bombs from every direction.
Stephie Daniels: You mentioned that you always look to finish the fight, and not just score points. Do you feel like some of these guys are coming in more to not lose than to actually win decisively?
Mark Munoz: Yes, I do, and you can see a distinct difference in those guys. The aggressive, active guys are going in to win. Then you have guys that look for the takedowns, because that's when they light up, on the ground. You have to be careful when differentiating these guys, because a guy might look like he's only point fighting, when in reality, he's trying to get the fight to the ground, where he aggressively looks for the finish. If they're aggressive in their personal style, and push the fight and dictate the fight according to their style, they're looking to win.
Stephie Daniels: I recently saw a video of Chris Weidman where he's basically being hailed as the MMA version of Rocky. I thought of you when I saw it, because you've had to reach down deep in some of your fights to come back and win. What's your take on that?
Mark Munoz: [laughs] I think I'd be more considered a Rocky than he would. Just being in the fights I've been in shows that. My fights with Kendall Grove, Demian Maia and Aaron Simpson prove that. There were a lot of times where I had to dig down deep and find a way to win, kind of Rocky-ish.
With him, he's fought Sakara and Maia, and seem to have the control edge in both. I haven't seen a fight where he's had to come back from adversity. He's used his length and wrestling to his advantage, but I haven't seen a fight where he's had to dig down deep and come back to find a way to win. I think that video is kind of false. When you compare him to me, I think I'm more deserving of that title than he is.
Stephie Daniels: There was a time when the MW division was very shallow, but that's changed dramatically over the last two years. As a result, everyone is gunning for that contender spot, and everyone wants to cut the line, so to speak. What's your take on these guys that would see themselves get an undeserved title shot?
Mark Munoz: When I get past Chris Weidman, there will be nobody in the division that deserves a title shot more than me. This will be my fifth win in a row. Bisping lost, so he needs to get back in line. Tim Boetsch needs to win a couple more before he can be considered. Then you've got Hector Lombard, who hasn't even had his first UFC fight, but he's already talking about the title. I'm like, 'Dude, wait your turn. Get in line.'
Stephie Daniels: Do you subscribe to all the hype that comes behind Hector, considering he's never beaten a Top 10 or even Top 20 guy?
Mark Munoz: Not to say Bellator isn't a viable organization, which it is, but the UFC is the best in mixed martial arts. Period. You can definitely say that if you're fighting in the UFC, you're fighting the best guys in the world. With fighting in Bellator, Hector is kind of fighting a lesser level of competition. He's been smashing a lot of people in smaller organizations, but for me, I would like to see him fight a few in the UFC before he even starts talking about title shots. If your fighting cans, and not the really good guys, you need to prove yourself.
I'm just being real and being more vocal, because I've always thought that my fighting would do the talking, but that doesn't get you where you want to be these days. People that talk loudly about title shots and where they should be in the division seem to get farther than the more humble guys. I'm still going to be myself, but I'm definitely going to be more vocal about where I should be in the division.
Follow Mark via his Twitter, @Mark_Munoz