"Filipinos are resilient people. There's a storm in my life, I lost my last fight, but guys, I'm a resilient person because I'm Pinoy. I will come back with a smile on my face, and punch somebody really hard," said UFC middleweight fighter Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz to the huge crowd gathered at the Mall of Asia Music Hall on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon.
The 35-year-old, two-time NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion at Oklahoma State was in Manila for his media tour to promote the UFC ahead of his return to the octagon in July against Tim Boetsch on UFC 162 to be headlined by Anderson Silva's UFC middleweight title defense against Chris Weidman. An impressive win over Boetsch will put Munoz back in contention to challenge the winner of Silva vs. Weidman.
It was Munoz's second stint in his native land, and was a hit with the crowd during his public workout, treating fans to a demo of some of his favorite moves in the octagon, as well as showing new techniques he's been working on in the past few months.
Mark Fischer, the executive vice president and managing director of UFC Asia, was also present at the venue and announced that the UFC may finally be coming to Manila, as early as 2014. "We just have to have an event here in Manila," Fischer exclaimed to the delight and cheers of the crowd. "This is just a prediction right now, but I believe we will be here in 2014. We're going to have Mark Munoz in that card," he added.
The popularity of MMA in the Philippines has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years, with UFC superstars such as Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell, and BJ Penn already making stops in helping to promote the sport in a country that has a long history and fascination with martial arts.
- CLICK HERE to watch a video of Munoz's open training session at MoA.
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