In early August the UFC made the rumored bout between Mark Munoz and Michael Bisping official. The promotion set the fight as the main event for UFC Fight Night 30, scheduled for October 26 in Manchester, England. Since that announcement, Munoz has endured the trash talk of Bisping while training to face the No. 4 ranked middleweight. On Friday, Munoz found out that he wouldn't be fighting someone other than Bisping.
An eye injury has forced Bisping from the fight, and the UFC has slotted former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida into his vacated spot. Machida (19-4), the No. 5 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC was removed from UFC Fight Night 31, where he had been booked to face Tim Kennedy.
For some fighters, a change of opponent four weeks out from a fight, would be a big deal, not for Munoz (13-3) who spoke to Duane Finley about the switch in opponents so close to fight night:
He is a friend of mine and we have trained together in the past, but that isn't something I have a problem with. I've fought friends before and it's nothing personal.
Now, I'll make the adjustments in training and preparing for his style to make sure I'm ready when I step into that cage. It's an abrupt turn, and Machida has an unorthodox style that is difficult to duplicate, but at the same time, he's never faced anyone who fights the way I do either. It goes both ways in this situation. I only have three weeks to prepare for him, but he only has three weeks to prepare for me as well.
Munoz is currently the No. 5 ranked fighter in the middleweight division, going 5-1 in his last six fights. His only loss during that run was a second round knockout defeat to current UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Munoz rebounded from that fight with a unanimous decision win over Tim Boetsch at UFC 162.
Machida decided to drop to middleweight after dropping a unanimous decision to Phil Davis at UFC 163.
UFC Fight Night 30 will take place at Manchester's Phones 4u Arena.
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