According to Munoz, he showed up to that fight injured. He'd hurt his foot in training, and hurt it badly enough that he couldn't run on it. Making weight was "a struggle," according to Munoz, and even his appearance had started to mess with his psyche.
"Getting into that fight I actually saw myself on fight day and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this does not look like me,'" Munoz said. "It threw me for a loop then."
As he would later tell MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMA Radio, UFC Radio - MMAjunkie Radio
), he'd come into the fight with a stress fracture in his foot, but didn't feel like he could withdraw from the main-event bout, especially since an elbow injury had forced him to pull out of the one before it, when he was slated to fight Chael Sonnen at a UFC on FOX event in January 2012.
"I didn't want to be the guy to back out twice," Munoz said in September.
So he stayed in the fight. He figured he'd suck it up and get through it. He was, after all, a professional fighter. This kind of thing might as well be in the job description.
"So then when I lost and in the fashion that I lost, that was the low point right there," Munoz said. "After that it took me about a week to say, 'What are you doing? Dust off the cobwebs, just stop thinking about it, and move on.'"
Only when he tried to move on, some bad news made it even harder. His doctor told him he'd broken his fourth and fifth metatarsal, Munoz said. He could be out for up to a year.
"That was the straw that broke the camel's back right there," Munoz said.
Not only was he sidelined from fighting, he was ruled out of training. He walked around with a boot on his foot. If he took it off, his wife yelled at him. If he tried to hit mitts with it on, she made him stop. When he'd watch the other fighters from his Reign Training Center work out or compete, it nearly drove him crazy. He couldn't do anything, and he was not the type of person who was used to doing nothing. With his usual outlets unavailable, he turned to food. He gained weight. Like, a lot of weight.
"It killed me for six months not to do anything," Munoz said. "... For a guy like me just not to do anything, it put me in a tailspin. ... I ate because I was sad and I was sad because I ate. That was the thing."
But if you see him now, as he's ramping up for a bout with Tim Boetsch at UFC 162 this summer, you'd never guess he'd spent the better part of the past year in a deep, dark psychological hole. Outwardly, he seems to be the same happy, gregarious man he was before. He's even lost all that weight. By the time you turn on the TV to watch him fight in July, it'll likely seem like not much has changed since his fight with Weidman almost exactly one year earlier. There's Munoz, back again, as if he's been frozen in a lab somewhere, just waiting for the UFC to push the button that drops him in the cage. There's Weidman, at the top of the card, fighting the champ.
What we don't know – what we rarely see with pro fighters – is everything that took place between then and now. According to Munoz, that's the stuff that sometimes matters the most.
"I wouldn't say sports builds character; I'd say character is revealed through sport," Munoz said. "... I think adversity is the dust that polishes the diamond. It's a bump in the road for me. It's part of my story. Now I'm back on the horse and I'm riding again."