Mark Munoz has a pivotal middleweight scrap against Aaron Simpson this Saturday at UFC 123. Instead of focusing solely on bouncing back from only the second loss of his career, MMA’s Mr. Nice Guy once again did all he could to ensure his team’s success came first.
This past March, Munoz launched Reign Training Center in hopes of building a powerhouse mixed martial arts squad. Fast forward only eight months and RTC has already started to leave its mark on the sport.
“I’m blessed to have a lot of [talented] guys in here. A lot of guys from all ends of the spectrum,” Munoz told MMAHeat. “I’ve got jiu jitsu guys, strikers, wrestlers, just the whole gamut. I’m very, very blessed to have those guys here.
“A lot of guys are drawn [to Reign] because the kind of people that are here. They’re not just great fighters, they’re also awesome people.”
Fellow Octagon stars Jake Ellenberger and Krzysztof Soszynski are regulars at the famed Southern California facility, as well as Strikeforce studs Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and upset specialist Fabricio Werdum.
The Nogueira brothers, Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos and Lyoto Machida are also within the inner circle. In fact, 2Santos told ESPN2 immediately after Cain Velasquez captured the heavyweight crown at UFC 121 that he’d be a staple at Reign as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career.
“I’m training a lot here in the United States because I think the best wrestlers in the world is here,” dos Santos stated. “I’m having Mark Munoz helping me a lot.”
While dos Santos’ motives to locking himself inside Munoz’s gym are obvious, other fighters have slowly drifted away after honing their skills at Reign and collecting their victories. Although they’ll be back in time to get ready for their next go round, that’s not necessarily the way Munoz wants his kingdom to run.
“There are some guys that haven’t been coming. I need to call them and say ‘Hey, where ya been?’ Just to get them back in here and be together as a team, move forward as a team and help each other out,” Munoz expressed. “That’s what I love and that’s where I thrive.”
If that’s his specialty, then the Filipino-American ain’t doing too shabby with his day job. Munoz holds an impressive 8-2 MMA record and has ended five of his wins in devastating fashion.
UFC 123 takes place inside The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan. Munoz and Simpson kick-off the televised portion of the night’s festivities on Spike TV starting at 9PM ET/6PM PT.