- DOB: February 9th, 1978
- Nickname: The Filipino Wrecking Machine
- Gym: RVCA Training Center/Reign Training Academy
- Location: Lake Forest, California
- Martial Arts Record: 14-6(MMA)
- Notable Championships: NCAA National Wrestling Champion
- 1 Mark Munoz’s childhood
- 2 Mark Munoz’s wrestling career at Oklahoma State
- 3 Mark Muñoz coaches collegiate wrestling
- 4 Mark Muñoz transitions to MMA
- 5 Mark Muñoz’s early UFC run
- 6 Mark Muñoz wins 4 in a row
- 7 Mark Muñoz’s bout of depression and his comeback
- 8 Mark Muñoz’s losing streak
- 9 Mark Muñoz’s retirement fight
- 10 Reign MMA
- 11 Mark Muñoz’s legacy
Mark Munoz’s childhood
Mark Muñoz is a Filipino American that was born on an American naval base in Yokosuka, Japan. He would spend the first two years of his life on this naval base as his father finished his service.
Once his father was finished, he moved Mark and the family to Vallejo, California. Muñoz would have a pretty normal childhood, where he would stay active and participate in various sports.
He would first get into wrestling when he was 13 years old and get pretty good at the sport. Once in high school, Mark would try playing football and wrestling at some time.
Unfortunately for Muñoz, an injury his sophomore year would end his time playing high school football. This would lead to Mark flourishing as a high school amateur wrestler.
During his high school career, Muñoz would win two state titles and become a NHSCA Champion. His success would earn him a spot on the Junior National Wrestling Team, where he earned a silver medal
Mark Munoz’s wrestling career at Oklahoma State
Mark’s success at high school wrestling would earn him a wrestling scholarship to Oklahoma State University. One of the premiere wrestling programs in the United States.
At OKSU, Muñoz would be teammates and good friends with future UFC champion Daniel Cormier. He competed from 1998 to 2001.
In that time, Mark Muñoz would compete in 121 wrestling matches. In his first two years, Mark would be one of the top 15 wrestlers in the country, but failed to medal at the championship.
Muñoz would start to make huge improvements his junior year and rank 3rd in the country. Then in his senior year, Mark and OSU would win the NCAA championship.
He would also graduate from college with a Bachelor’s in health science.
Mark Muñoz coaches collegiate wrestling
After graduating from Oklahoma State, Mark would stay on as an assistant coach for the wrestling team. He would coach for two years and be there for the 2003 national championship.
Muñoz would then get the opportunity to become a head coach of the wrestling program at UC Davis in California. An opportunity he jumped at and also so he could be closer to home.
Mark would be the head coach at UC Davis before transitioning to MMA in 2007.
Mark Muñoz transitions to MMA
After a few years as head wrestling coach of UC Davis, Muñoz decided to pursue a career at MMA. He started to learn Jiu Jitsu and striking and would make his MMA debut in 2007.
Winning his first fight by TKO at Palace Fighting 3 in Lemoore, California. His 2nd fight would be a decision win over UFC vet Mike Pierce and another decision in his 3rd fight. Using his wrestling to control both of his opponents without taking any damage in these matches.
At 3-0 to start his career, Mark would then get an offer to fight for World Extreme Cagefighting. This would be the first time most die hard MMA fans would see the Filipino Wrecking Machine in action.
He would fight two times in the promotion before WEC was absorbed into the UFC. Mark’s first WEC fight would be a 1st round KO win and his 2nd would be another 1st round TKO.
Mark Muñoz’s early UFC run
Mark Muñoz would make his UFC debut at UFC 96 against Matt Hamill at light heavyweight. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be a great debut as Hamill knocked Mark out with a head kick.
The Filipino Wrecking Machine would come back stronger in his next fight at middleweight. Bouncing back with a split decision win over Nick Cantone and a TKO win over Ryan Jensen in his next match.
These two wins would set up his next fight against former TUF winner Kendall Grove. Mark and Kendall would have the fight of the night at UFC 112, that Muñoz would win by TKO in the 2nd round.
His 3 fight win streak would be snapped with a split decision loss to Yushin Okami.
Mark Muñoz wins 4 in a row
After his 2nd UFC loss, Mark would bounce back again and go on a 4 fight win streak. The biggest win streak he would have in his UFC career.
The first win of this streak would come against Aaron Simpson by unanimous decision. He would follow up this win with another TKO win over TUF veteran CB Dollaway in the 1st round.
His 3rd win of the streak would be one of the biggest tests of his career against BJJ legend Demian Maia. Muñoz was able to use his wrestling and striking to earn a decision win over the BJJ champion.
Mark would then be part of UFC history headlining the first ever 5 round non title fight at UFC 138. Beating UFC vet Chris Leben by corner stoppage.
Mark Muñoz’s bout of depression and his comeback
The Filipino Wrecking Machine was one of the top middleweights going into his fight with Chris Weidman. In the match, Weidman would land a devastating elbow that knocked Muñoz out cold. Also suffering a severe gash on his forehead.
This loss would put Muñoz into a deep depression. Gaining over 100lbs(45 kgs) and spending months out of training.
One day, he saw how he looked and decided to make a change. He documented his body transformation over the next year.
A year after his KO loss to Weidman, Mark would make his way back to the cage to face Tim Boetsch. The hard work Muñoz put in paid off and he would win a dominant unanimous decision.
Mark Muñoz’s losing streak
After his win against Boetsch, Mark would suffer the only losing streak of his MMA career. The first loss would come against training partner Lyoto Machida.
Both fighters were friends and hesitant to fight each other, but both went through with the fight. Machida would land a head kick KO to beat Mark in the first round.
Mark would then fight Gegard Mousasi in the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Germany. Mousasi would control Muñoz on the ground and submit him in the first round.
Then the third loss of this losing streak would be against Brazilian Roan Carneiro in the first round.
Mark Muñoz’s retirement fight
After losing 3 fights in a row and wanting to spend more time with his family, Mark Muñoz decided on retiring. He would have one more fight that would be the co-main event at a UFC Fight Night in the Philippines.
The Filipino Wrecking Machine received a huge ovation from the Filipino fans. In the last match of his UFC career, Mark would have one of the best performances of his career.
Ending his MMA career with a dominant win in front of a ruckus crowd backing him.
While in the UFC, Muñoz would open his own MMA gym, Reign Training Center. From 2011-2015 Mark would run this training center that taught MMA along with striking and youth wrestling.
Mark would train a few high level MMA fighters doing his time as a head MMA coach. Including Uriah Hall and Jake Ellenberger.
Right before the last fight of his career, Muñoz would sell the gym. Wanting to be completely away from MMA to focus on being with his family.
Mark Muñoz’s legacy
Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz had a phenomenal athletic career and competed at the highest levels. First winning a national championship in amateur wrestling and being one of the top UFC middleweights for years.
He ended his MMA career with a 14-6 record with 15 of those fights in the UFC. Since retiring in 2015, Mark has moved away from MMA to spend time with his family.
Since retiring, Mark has become the wrestling director and coach for a private school in California called Fairmont. The Filipino Wrecking Machine was happy with what he did in his career and has now moved on to coaching wrestling.