In MMA, Filipino fighters are known for their great stand-up game. But in a grappling exchange, the local fighters are years behind in the wrestling department.
The lack of grappling and wrestling technique in homegrown talent stems from the absence of grassroots programs and wrestling-specific gyms and coaches.
This is where Mark Muñoz looks to leave his mark. The retired UFC fighter, who was named as one of the Top 200 fighters to ever grace the Octogon, is welcoming any fighter who reaches out to him, especially the Filipino fighters, for training.
If there is going to be a wrestling resurgence in the Philippines, Muñoz may very well be the catalyst.
“The Filipino Wrecking Machine” was a two-time All-American wrestler for the Oklahoma State University before his time in the UFC. He has also coached and started his own gym.
After his emotional retirement in UFC Fight Night Manila last year, the former middleweight contender has been connecting with the Philippines, regularly making trips home.
Recently, he admitted that he is on the verge of starting what could be his own camp in the Philippines.
“Actually, there’s a good possibility. I can’t say what it is, but it’s a good possibility. There’s movement in gyms that are coming here to the Philippines. I’m going to be involved in that and I’m in the planning stages of that now,” the Filipino-American told reporters during UFC’s promomotional tour for UFC Fight Night Manila 2: Lamas vs. Penn.
“I have, on paper, everything that I feel is going to help the Philippines a lot in MMA and the sport of wrestling. “
Known as one of the nicest guys in MMA, the 38-year-old Filipino-American shared that he always felt amazing when teaching and sharing his knowledge, which he said comes from his generous Filipino upbringing.
“I was a coach before I got into fighting and that’s what I love to do – I love sharing whatever I’ve collected throughout the years,” Muñoz admitted.
“I want guys to eat wrestling – to breathe wrestling. Kasi walang wrestling dito. I want to be able use my talents and capabilities and give it to the people.”