Mark Munoz came up short at UFC Fight Night 41.
He was completely dominated by Gegard Mousasi in the night's main event and tapped out to a rear-naked choke in less than four minutes. This was the fourth time Munoz headlined an event, and it is his third first-round defeat.
It is time for him to walk away from active competition.
Munoz has hung around in the top 10 of the UFC's middleweight division for quite some time, but he has never been an elite fighter. At every turn, he has come up short against the elite of the division.
His first attempt against a top-tier middleweight came against Yushin Okami in 2010. He was unable to implement his wrestling, and Okami diligently worked to a decision. While the decision was split, the winner of the fight was clear.
Munoz would go on to win four straight. That included wins over C.B. Dollaway, Demian Maia and Chris Leben. He looked good in those fights. That streak would earn him a title eliminator against another up-and-comer in Chris Weidman.
Weidman mauled Munoz.
He took a severe beating in that fight—one that should have been stopped much sooner than it was. He was outclassed everywhere, and it was not even close. He showed nothing in that fight. However, given his competition, he was given the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it was an off night.
After a win over Tim Boetsch, Munoz returned to fighting top-tier competition.
Lyoto Machida knocked him unconscious with a head kick. Mousasi followed that up with a quick submission on Saturday.
Munoz does not want to be a gatekeeper, and that is exactly what he is right now. At 36 years old, he needs to retire from active competition. He has nothing more to prove, is not going to be in a position to compete for a title and does not need to take any more physical punishment.
|Gegard Mousasi||Loss, Submission, Round 1||UFC Fight Night 41||May 31, 2014|
|Lyoto Machida||Loss, Knockout, Round 1||UFC Fight Night 30||October 26, 2013|
|Tim Boetsch||Win, Unanimous Decision||UFC 162||July 6, 2013|
|Chris Weidman||Loss, Knockout, Round 2||UFC on Fuel TV 4||July 11, 2012|
|Chris Leben||Win, TKO, Round 2||UFC 138||June 11, 2011|
He will still be a valuable part of MMA.
He is the owner of Reign Training Center, an established training facility that houses several of the UFC's best fighters, including Chael Sonnen and Jake Ellenberger.
He is a fantastic coach who can give much more to the sport in that role than as a mid-tier, aging middleweight.
“The Filipino Wrecking Machine” also speaks well. He has been featured on UFC broadcasts giving analysis. In his retirement, he can stay active in the sport in that role as well. He has a wealth of knowledge that fans can learn from as he breaks down matchups for future cards.
Ultimately, the decision is up to him.
After his most recent performances against the top fighters in the division, it is time to walk away. He has more to give the sport and does not need to endure the punishment he receives inside the cage. He will continue to be valuable to combat sports thanks to his knowledge and coaching ability.
We should all hope to see Munoz in the gym instructing the next wave of MMA talent or in the studio wearing a suit instead of lying on the canvas struggling to remain even marginally relevant as an active competitor.