About Mark Muñoz
Mark was born February 9, 1978 on a US Military Base in Yokouska, Japan to Filipino parents Imelda Kenery of Santa Ana, Manila, Philippines and Rodolfo Munoz from Pasay City, Philippines. At the age of 2, Mark and his family relocated to the US and settled in the city of Vallejo, California. Mark’s love of athletics began at a very young age, his main focus being football. However, when he was a sophomore in high school, he incurred an injury that prevented him from playing the sport that he loved so dearly. So he turned to wrestling and the rest is history…
Mark began to wrestle at the age of thirteen. Younger, but with more brawn than the other wrestlers on the high school varsity team, Mark practiced with the varsity wrestlers because his coach believed in his raw talent and potential to be a great wrestler. The younger Mark took this as an opportunity to learn from the older, more experienced, wrestlers every day along with a committed coach. That he did for a whole year. In 1992, at the age of 14, Mark won his first championship title. That was all it took– Mark was committed to the skill of wrestling.
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY
Recruited by most of the top wrestling colleges in the country, Mark went on to wrestle at Oklahoma State University under legendary Head Coach John Smith. Mark started for the Cowboys all 4 years compiling 121 wins, sixth on the all-time winning list of the Cowboy wrestling dynasty. He captured two Big 12 titles including the outstanding wrestler honor of the conference in his senior year and earned back-to-back All-American honors at 197 pounds, capping off with a NCAA title as a senior in 2001. He became the first Filipino American at the Division I Level to win a National Championship. He also made the NWCA All-Academic Team for three years and the Big 12 All-Academic squad for four. Additionally, Mark was a three-year member of the FILA Junior World Wrestling Team, earning the silver medal in 1998.
Mark received a Bachelors of Science Degree in Health Science from Oklahoma State University.
ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP
In 2003, Mark accepted a coaching position with the UC Davis Aggies wrestling program only 30 minutes from his hometown. He packed up his family and moved back to California where he met WEC lightweight Champion Urijah Faber as he coached with him on the Aggie Wrestling Team. With the advice of his friend, Mark decided to train mixed martial arts part-time in January of 2007, only training a couple days a week when his schedule allowed. Mark stepped into the MMA scene with his first fight on July 17, 2007. In April of 2008, Mark resigned from his coaching position to train full-time. He made his WEC debut at WEC 34 on June 1, 2008 in the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California where he defeated Chuck Grigsby (13-3) via KO at 4:15 of the first round. On December 3, 2008, Mark defeated Ricardo Barros for WEC’s year-end event, WEC 37, via TKO. Munoz and Barros were the final 205lb fighters to compete in the WEC. Mark was one of the chosen few to be relocated to WEC’s sister promotion, which is also owned and produced by Zuffa, UFC. Mark’s UFC debut as light heavyweight did not go as planned losing to Ultimate Fighter Season 2 winner Matt Hamill. After UFC 96, Mark moved down to the middleweight division and won 7 fights in the UFC octagon against contenders Nick Catone (August 29, 2009), Ryan Jensen (January 2, 2010), Kendall Grove (April 10, 2010), Aaron Simpson (November 20, 2010), CB Dollaway (March 3, 2011), Demian Maia (June 11, 2011), and Chris Leben (November 5, 2011).
On July 11, 2012 after Mark’s KO loss to Chris Weidman in UFC on FUEL TV 4 in San Jose, California, Mark fell into depression. He turned to food for comfort and ballooned to 262 pounds. With the help of his teammates at his gym Reign Training Center, Todd Norman-Mark’s strength and conditioning coach, a good diet plan, Mark’s faith in God, and the support of his closest friends, family and fans, he was able to overcome his depression. He rediscovered his motivation to fight, returned to training and to the best fight shape of his life. His next fight would become one of the most memorable comebacks in UFC history. After a year off from fighting, Mark would return to the Octagon and earn a “decisive” unanimous decision win against Tim Boetsch in UFC 162. Since his start in MMA, Mark has compiled a record of 13-4.