MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American fighter Mark Muñoz is ready to hang up his gloves for good regardless of the outcome of his homecoming bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first Philippine live event numbered as “Fight Night 66” on May 16.
The 37-year-old “Filipino Wrecking Machine” is booked to square off with English stalwart Luke Barnatt in a three-round middleweight tussle as it was surprisingly announced during UFC Fight Night 66’s on-sale press conference on Tuesday, March 10 at Solaire Resort & Casino’s Grand Ballroom in Parañaque City, Metro Manila.
Since his dominating performance against Tim Boetsch in July 2013, Muñoz has lost three matches in a row, suffering excruciating defeats in the hands of Lyoto Machida, Gegard Mousasi and Roan Carneiro.
In his last Octagon outing, it only took Roan Carneiro under two minutes to render Muñoz unconscious with a rear-naked choke.
According to Muñoz, he is calling it quits in mixed martial arts whether he wins or loses against Barnatt, who also aims to re-insert his name into the winner’s column as he dropped his last two UFC bouts since riding high on an eight-fight winning streak.
“It’s tough, but I am ready to hang up the gloves for good this time. This fight will be my last,” he revealed during a media scrum.
Muñoz has been a staple of the organization’s middleweight division and once emerged as a potential 185-pound title contender with 7 triumphs in his first 9 UFC appearances, scoring notable victories over the likes of Kendall Grove, CB Dollaway, Demian Maia and Chris Leben.
The six-foot grappler from Mission Viejo, California stressed that it is fitting to have the curtain-call of his prizefighting career in his family’s homeland.
“I’ve never fought here. I am happy and excited at the same time to have my last fight here in Manila and in the UFC,” Muñoz expressed.
UFC Fight Night 66, which takes place at 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, is headlined by a featherweight super-fight between Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar.
Tickets to UFC’s maiden trip to the fight capital of the Southeast Asian region will be available on Friday, March 13. – Rappler.com