'Filipino Wrecking Machine' inspired by Pacquiao

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Dec 04 2010 06:54 PM | Updated as of Dec 05 2010 03:02 AM

SAN CARLOS, California - Mark Muñoz, the only full-blooded Filipino fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), hopes the mixed martial arts (MMA) sportwill be popular among Filipinos just as boxing is.

“Filipinos like contact sports. Boxing is really big in the Philippines and of course, we love Manny Pacquaio," said Muñoz who is also known as the “Filipino Wrecking Machine.”

Muñoz shared how sportsmen look up to Pacquiao. "He (Pacquiao) is such an awesome role model for fighters and he’s such a pioneer for us. I’m just following in his footsteps."

Bring them on

Straight from his victory against Aaron Simpson last November 20, the 32-year old Muñoz said he’s ready to face more deadly opponents.

His professional record is 9 wins and 2 losses. Six of his victories ended by knockout.

Muñoz said, “The best defense is a great offense. I like to go forward. I like to initiate, enforce my will on my opponents.”

Raised in Vallejo, California, Muñoz began training as a wrestler when he was 13-years old.

He became the first Filipino-American to win an intercollegiate national wrestling championship at the Division 1 level.

“It’s the blood in me - the warrior blood that Filipinos possess. I took to it well and I learned very quickly,” said Muñoz.

In 2009, Muñoz made his UFC debut. But a brutal head kick by veteran Mark Hamill rendered him unconscious.

That defeat only made Muñoz work harder to win. And this middleweight division fighter has not looked back since. -- Balitang America