01-21-2010, 08:38 PM
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| | His borrowed gi days behind him, Mark Munoz eyes jiu-jitsu black belt
His borrowed gi days behind him, Mark Munoz eyes jiu-jitsu black belt | MMAjunkie.com
Former collegiate wrestling champion Mark Munoz (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has made great strides in his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, especially since pairing up with the vaunted Black House crew for training. |
But Munoz will be the first to admit he doesn't do enough training in his gi. In fact, he doesn't even own one.
So you can imagine how surprised Munoz was when MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira asked "The Philippine Wrecking Machine" to bring his gi to their next workout.
"They asked me to bring my gi, and I was like, 'Dude, I don't own a gi,'" Munoz recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMAjunkie.com Radio | MMAjunkie.com). "I don't really roll gi at all."
Munoz ended up borrowing the traditional jiu-jitsu uniform and made his way to the workout.
"We were working out and stuff, and I was like, 'Why do I need a gi?'" Munoz said. "They actually hooked me up with a purple belt.
"They actually told me they were going to do it, but I didn't know we were going to do it that day. It was cool. It was an honor."
Traditionally the third ranking for adults studying jiu-jitsu, the purple belt is one step below a brown belt.
Munoz said receiving the ranking from Nogueira, a black belt and 15-year practitioner of the art, was a tremendous honor. Munoz also said the ceremony was the latest blessing he's received since partnering with Nogueira during their training sessions at Black House.
"I'm a part of the Black House family, and they treat me really well," Munoz said. "I love those guys. They're my family now. They really have that same mentality I have, and it's pretty cool.
"I train with Nogueira almost every day, and we have something to offer each other. For me to even have that opportunity is just amazing. I feel truly blessed to be able to have it."
Munoz had to return the borrowed gi, but he expects to have his own very soon. While no-gi jiu-jitsu will still continue to be the basis of his MMA training, Munoz hopes to work in the gi more and eventually progress to black-belt status.
"I'm definitely interested in working with the gi because you actually get more technical," Munoz said. "But at the same time, I need to work no-gi because that's what I do. But I definitely, definitely want to get my black belt.
"I want to get my black belt, and I'm definitely going in the right direction to do so."
With his new ranking in place, Munoz is rumored to face submission specialist Kendall Grove at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. While Munoz wasn't free to discuss the matchup openly, he did little to dispel the possibility.
"I really like that matchup," Munoz said.