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Video: Mark Munoz on 'chance of a lifetime' to end career in Manila, returning to his roots in more ways than one

Being part of the Philippines' first UFC event, and returning to the team where it all began for him, Mark Munoz feels like his retirement bout can't be set up any perfectly.

As first reported on BloodyElbow.com Mark Munoz will be facing Luke Barnatt, and he's recently announced that win or lose, he will be hanging up the gloves for good. 'The Filipino Wrecking Machine' will have a home coming of sorts, and thought it would be perfect to end his competitive MMA career in Manila.

"I've been doing Mixed Martial Arts for about 8 years, in the UFC for about 7, and this should be my last fight," Munoz said while in the Philippines. "My son came up to me, he said 'dad, I really want to be a champion in wrestling.' For me, like all Filipinos, I want to be there for my family."

"I'm just going to go out there and fight for my people. This is what I've been waiting for. This is a chance of a lifetime and I'm not going to miss it," he said about the chance to have his final bout in the Philippines. "You guys will not be disappointed. I can't wait."

Related: UFC adds 2 more bouts to finalize Manila card

As for what he will be doing after he stops competing, Munoz spoke about the various hats he wears, and his plans to give back to the Filipino people.

"I own a gym, I teach and coach there, I have kids, I do speaking for kids, and my time is very thin," Munoz said about the decision to retire and his plans after. "I want to coach them. I want to be there for my daughter, and I want to be with my family."

"I want to be the pioneer for MMA in the Philippines. I'm going to teach wrestling and I'll do as much as I can for my country," he said. "I coach a lot of the top fighters in MMA, and I definitely want to come back and get the guys in here prepared when it comes to wrestling. I want to take my talents, my gifts and abilities to all the fighters here."

"Now that the UFC is here, I want to give as much as I can because this is where it all started for my parents."

Eddiva, Nover, Munoz -- Photo by Anton Tabuena


Filipino fighters Mark Eddiva, Phillipe Nover, and Mark Munoz -- Photo by Anton Tabuena.

Mark's parents grew up in the Bicol province and they instilled the Filipino culture and values in him from an early age. Apart from retracing his roots and giving back to the country, Munoz will also be having yet another homecoming of sorts for this contest.

"I started MMA because I was bullied. I ended up finding confidence in wrestling. Then I met Urijah (Faber) and he said "you need to fight!" Mark recalls about how he began his career. "I didn't want to fight (at first), and didn't feel like that was in me, but I am a fighter, just like all of us Filipinos. We're fighters and regardless of any storms that come, we're resilient and we come back. That's who I am. That's my culture and my blood."

As he approaches the final chapter of his competitive career, Munoz will be returning to where it all began for him.

"I'm going to train in the states. I'm going to train with Urijah, where I started. I'm going to go back there to train with him," Munoz said about returning to Team Alpha Male for this camp. "I might visit AKA a bit as well. I'm excited to make that leap and to change things up a bit for myself."

For Munoz, the final pages to his competitive career couldn't have been set up any better. According to him, having a homecoming in the Philippines, along with returning to his original fight team is a perfect way to end it all.

Now it's all just about delivering and bringing what he does in training into the Octagon.

"I have all the talent in the world, and I just want to make sure I end things with an exclamation point."

Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena