Saturday night Mark Munoz will take to the Octagon as a headliner for the first time in his UFC career, facing hard-hitting fan-favorite Chris Leben at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England. However, were it not for a chance encounter with UFC Hall of Fame heavyweight Randy Couture it’s likely the 11-2 Munoz would have never found himself strapping on a pair of gloves to begin with.
Munoz recounted his meeting with “The Natural” in a promotional video for UFC 138 where he explained, after having randomly met Urijah Faber out in California, the extremely green “Filipino Wrecking Machine” found himself facing off against a multi-time UFC champion in a strange twist of fate.
“Just out of the blue Urijah was like, ‘Munoz you need to come to this practice.’ I’m like, ‘Cool,’ just thinking I would watch it. So then Randy Couture needed a partner for sparring and guess who is sparring for the first time in his career? This guy,” Munoz exclaimed with a huge grin on his face.
“So they basically said, ‘Munoz…wrap your hands. You’re getting ready to go with Randy Couture.’ I’m like, ‘You’re kidding me!’ All I knew how to do was jab and shoot a double-leg. That’s all I knew who to do. So I’m wrapping my hands and I’m like, ‘Dude…Urijah, I don’t even know how to wrap my hands and I’m going with Randy right now? I’m so scared and nervous!’ He’s like, ‘Dude..you’ll be fine. Just jab, double-leg, and ground and pound. That’s all you’ve gotta to do.’ So that’s all I did…I was jabbing him, boom-boom-boom….shoot in a double-leg, took him down. I thought, ‘This is easy!’”
After the practice session Couture was impressed enough by what he’d seen to recognize the decorated amateur wrestler’s raw talent and as a result encouraged him to pursue a career in MMA. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fans can catch Munoz vs. Leben on Spike TV starting at 8:00 PM EST with preliminary pairings streaming live hours earlier due to the time difference between the UK and United States.
You can watch Munoz explain his entire encounter with Couture below in this “Up Close and Personal” special from the UFC:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: Definitely a wild story from Munoz that makes you wonder where he might be without meeting Faber/Couture. In fact I’m certain a number of fighters out there can attribute their chosen professions to a chance moment. I guess we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out what destiny has in store for Munoz.