But then, even the toughest fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) and even boxing are human, and Silva on July 6, 2013, got knocked out by up and coming American fighter Chris Weidman.
While many fight observers can blame Silva’s showboating for his loss to Weidman, one thing as obvious: the Brazilian is not made of steel.
Silva looking very much like human (he is one) in his fight against Weidman opens the doors for Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz to aim for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight championship.
And if Muñoz achieves that feat, he would become the very first Filipino (or part Filipino) MMA fighter to win a championship in the octagon.
Muñoz current totes a 13-3 record with six of his wins coming by knockout and one via submission. He was a two-time California State Wrestling Champion during his high school days, and collared the NCAA title in 2001 as a senior.
While known more for his wrestling background, Muñoz is also known to possess good striking skills but this may be one area he needs to polish if he wants to become world champion.
There is one thing that might make observers skeptical on the chance of Muñoz becoming the middleweight champion: his loss to Weidman via second round stoppage on July 12, 2012.
Muñoz broke a foot during the fight and had to rest for one year after his loss to Weidman.
By the looks of it too, Weidman can become one of the sport’s top dogs, since he is undefeated in 10 fights with only three ending in decision.
The good news, however, is Muñoz and Weidman are not facing each other in their next fights.
Weidman is being lined for a rematch against Silva, while Muñoz is set to face veteran Michael Bisping on October 6. Bisping, who hails from the United Kingdom, has a 25-4 record with 14 of his wins ending in knockout and four by submission.
While Muñoz may have regained part of his confidence when by decisioning Tim Boetsche on July 6 this year, that does not mean Bisping would be a walk in the park.
If Muñoz wins over Bisping with a flourish or by knockout, that would line him up for the winner of the planned Silva-Weidman rematch. But if Muñoz loses, even by decision, that might derail his chances of becoming the first Filipino to win a UFC or MMA world championship.
If there is one thing we should admire about Muñoz, it is his no nonsense approach to the sport. The Filipino showed off early this month a comparative set of photos showing him at a very unfit 261 pounds to a very muscled 199 pounds prior to his fight against Boetsch.
His ballooning to 261 lbs was a result of his eating “comfort foods” after his loss to Weidman drove him to self-doubt and depression.
What I hope for is Silva beats Weidman, and for Muñoz to beat Silva. If there is anything that Silva hates, it is ground-and-pound blitz, and Muñoz has solid ground-and-pound skills.
Silva’s bout against Chael Sonnen on August 7, 2012, also showed that the Brazilian could be outboxed and hit. (Unfortunately, Sonnen still lost to Silva who was able to apply a triangle armbar on Silva in the last round.)
But if Weidman beats Silva, things will definitely be harder for Muñoz since the American beat the Filipino via a technical knockout in their July 2012 fight.
I discussed how Muñoz could possibly win against Weidman with The Times Sports Editor Perry Gil Mallari, and he told me that the Filipino could not go toe-to-toe or wrestle with the American all-out. Mallari opines that Muñoz must take advantage of the Weidman’s aggressiveness to commit mistakes and be patiently tactical like a jiu-jitsu fighter.
Also, one thing going against Muñoz in fighting Weidman is his age; the American is 29 years old and the Filipino 35 years old. And let’s face it—MMA is a “young man’s game.”
But I am not dismissing Muñoz outright, because I am sure he has learned from his loss to Weidman, and he is eager to dispose Bisping to get another shot at the title.
Muñoz also knows that time is running out for him, because at 35 he only has two to three good fighting years left. We wish him all the luck, and God’s help.