“Life is happening for us, not to us.”
That’s the mindset of 33-year-old UFC bantamweight contender Pedro Munhoz as he heads into his massively important main event fight on Saturday against former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
And Munhoz’s slogan isn’t just talk.
Munhoz moved from Brazil to the United States in 2010 without being able to speak any English, armed only with a dream in his heart that was inspired by the movies of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
“I was always inspired by those movies,” Munhoz said. “I wanted to be a kickboxer, and I found a way to train. I found boxing. I found jiu-jitsu. I was sure about what I wanted for my life.”
Since then, Munhoz has literally been living his dream as a UFC fighter.
“Without a doubt, man,” Munhoz said. “That’s definitely what happened.”
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Munhoz Is A Perennial Bantamweight Contender
Munhoz (18-4-1) has been a perennial contender since his UFC debut in February 2014. All four of his UFC losses have come against fighters who were and are still ranked, with three of them in the top 10.
But after the Brazil-born American enjoyed perhaps the biggest win of his career when he knocked out former champ Cody Garbrandt in March of last year, Munhoz suffered a devastating loss to Aljamain Sterling.
But Munhoz said he saw that unanimous decision loss, and all the time he spent after it waiting for another fight, as a chance to grow and learn.
It’s been a while,” Munhoz said. “But at the same time, it was a good time to make a lot of adjustments from my last fight.”
First UFC Fight in Over a Year
Munhoz’s last UFC fight was at UFC 238 in June 2019.
Since that date, Munhoz has thought he was fighting in January, March, June and July before ultimately getting his main event battle against Edgar on August 22.
That’s a long time to wait for a fight, with lots of starts and stops, but Munhoz said he didn’t let any of those things change the way he approaches his life.
“If I see all of what happened last year, it was a lot of growth,” Munhoz said. “I was able to work on a lot of things, and I was training the whole time.”
Munhoz specifically said he worked on being able to employ different kinds of strategies on fight night. Previously, Munhoz said he just assumed every opponent would come straight after him looking for violence.
“What happens if a guy doesn’t want to fight me? What happens if a guy wants to have a strategy fight? Let’s say he just wants to win on points?”
Now, Munhoz said he’s ready for anything and everything Edgar or any other UFC opponent might bring to him.
“I was very fortunate to work on that with my coaches, looking at distance and stuff like that, and not just expecting my opponent to come at me,” Munhoz said.
Is a Title Shot Next?
Despite promising more “setups” and “strategies” in future fights, “Young Punisher” also promised he would still be gunning for stoppage wins.
“I’ll be hoping for the knockout,” Munhoz said. I’m going to go for it. I’m ready for any situation in the fight.”
And while he’s not spending much time thinking about it right now, Munhoz admitted that his No. 5 ranking in the UFC’s bantamweight division does put him in a nice spot for a possible title shot so long as he keeps winning.
“I believe the title shot is going to be right there,” Munhoz said.
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