With his final MMA fight coming up in May, UFC middleweight Mark Munoz has no regrets

A lot of times in MMA, retirements don’t exactly go as planned. Instead of going out with their hands raised high or even just on their own terms, a trend that’s displayed itself among veteran fighters is in an ability to hang up the gloves, until they’ve been relegated to serve as stepping stones to much younger prospects on regional cards.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For longtime UFC middleweight Mark Munoz, that depressing narrative won’t play out. In mid-May, he’ll square off against Luke Barnatt at UFC Fight Night 66 on the promotion’s first fight card in the Philippines.

Sure, the 37-year-old has dropped three straight fights in brutal fashion. Still, he’ll be leaving the sport as a fighter on his own terms in the world’s biggest organization on a groundbreaking card that personally connects with Munoz.

“This is something that means a lot to me,” Munoz told MMA media producer Rick Lee. “This is where my heritage [is], this is where I’m from. This is where it all started for my parents, and although I’m American. I’m 100% American, but I represent the Philippines and my heritage and my culture, that’s where my roots are from.”

“For me to able to just go out there and represent the Philippines, and do it in a way where I’m actually doing a sport that I love. It means the world to me, so I love the fact that the Philippines finally has a UFC card.”

One of the biggest reasons for Munoz stepping away from active MMA competition are the non-fight responsibilities in his daily life.

“My kids are growing up. Time is unforgiving. I have daughter that I have probably a year and half left with now, and then my son wants me to coach him in wrestling in high school,” said Munoz. “Trying to be an elite mixed martial artists, there’s a lot of time that’s associated with that, so for me to be able to put the time and own Reign Training Center and do a lot of appearances for my anti-bullying campaign and just be a father to four kids and husband, that’s a lot to deal with.”

Despite that realization, Munoz has no regrets on how his career in the sport has transpired.

“I feel that everything happens for a reason, and that I’ve had a great career in the UFC,” said Munoz. “Now to be able to represent the Philippines in the first ever Philippines card, that’s making history. I have no regrets at all. I’ve done a lot in the UFC.”

Winning a championship would have absolutely been fulfilling for Munoz, but he’s more than content with the amount of time he’ll be able to now spend with his family.

“Although I want a 12-pound gold strap around my waist, I got precious treasure at home, and I need to attend to that.”