While most people this side of Chael Sonnen sit dumbfounded trying to figure out how middleweight king Anderson Silva could possibly become any more lethal, in steps fellow 185-pounder and amigo Mark Munoz, who just happens to be a former two-time All American wrestler and one of the best ground gurus in all of the MMA.
“We help each other tremendously,” Munoz told MMAWeekly.com. “He’s helped me in my last couple of fights and I’ve been helping him sporadically because he was in Brazil most of the time and he’d come here for a week or two and I’d help him out. Now he’s out here, training out here in L.A., and we’re getting together two to three times a week.
“He’s as important to me as I am to him.”
Munoz has been pulling double-duty since opening Reign Training Center earlier this year. Not only has “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” been honing his own game in preparation for Yushin Okami, but the entrepreneur has quickly established a talented squad at RTC as well.
In addition to “The Spider,” his state-of-the-art facility has housed the likes of Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, upset specialist Fabricio Werdum, former UFC title holder Rashad Evans and Jake Ellenberger – who will be joining Munoz in this Sunday’s “UFC on Versus: Jones vs. Matyushenko” fight card.
In regards to MMA’s most vicious marksman, Munoz concurred there aren’t too many weapons Silva doesn’t already have in his arsenal. However, the champ puts his crown and 12-fight winning streak on the line against an accomplished wrestler in Sonnen at UFC 117. Despite no hablo ingles (allegedly), it didn’t take long for the Brazilian to realize he would benefit greatly from a crash course in Mark Munoz 101.
“He’s been doing pretty well. He learns really quick, obviously,” Munoz said of Silva. “He’s an elite athlete and he’s become a student of the sport. As much as I come in, he wants to wrestle and just to learn wrestling.
“He knows wrestling is a sport where you have to have experience to be able to be versed in the techniques. He knows that, so he wants to be versed enough to be able to implement his style.”
Munoz owns a dominant 8-1 record and has rattled off three consecutive Octagon wins. He posted a dramatic come-from-behind 2ndRound TKO victory over Kendall Grove in his last outing at UFC 112. If the 32-year-old is able to upset Okami this weekend, a shot at the title shouldn’t be too far off.