At Citizens Arena Bank in Ontario, California, the fans were on their feet cheering on as fighters claimed the glory they were after, but all Johnny Munoz Jr. could do was watch. Munoz, undefeated at 8-0 was scheduled to be part of the main event challenging Tony Gravely for the King of the Cage (KOTC) 135-pound belt (referred to as flyweight by King of the Cage). But an injury sidelined the top prospect and though he grappled with showing up at the event he went to support his cousin who was making his amateur debut. But it wasn’t a pleasant experience knowing he missed out on an opportunity he desired.
It was a little awkward, a couple people asked me. I’m not one of those guys, I’m not an attention whore, I hate when people ask me, “what happened bro,” you here the question so many times. I wasn’t going to go but when they put him on the card, I said I gotta go to the fight because he sacrifices for me so I gotta sacrifice for him. It was a little weird but I kinda ignored the questions, (saying) “yea shit happens, things happen but it’s not about me right now, it’s about my brother Alan.”
View this post on Instagram
Stellar performance by this young legend right here. Very few individuals can make that transition from sport bjj to mma and have success. Don’t take my word for it, look it up and you’ll see the countless men that have fallen while making that transition. Looked like a complete fighter out there. Well done son. Also thanks to the 250+ fans who bought tickets from me prior to my injury and still chose to keep their tickets to support my little brother last night. Mad love for you all. The world is ours, we don’t fake it we take it. #puroplomo #daleschingasos
This was also the first injury of Munoz’s young career. Before, he had never pulled out of a fight. The injury which he described as a bruise and a slight tear happened during the last two weeks of his camp and at the end of the day he had to do what was best for him which was to pull out of the fight. The injury kept the young fighter out of training for four weeks.
During his time off during the injury, Munoz saw how injuries can lead athletes to depression, sitting around and not being able to do what they love and are best at. However, he was able to stay positive in a dark moment.
“I’m a pretty positive person, I believe in myself, I just try and look in the positive in everything, the positive in this is that I’m recharged up. I’m always motivated to fight but this just had me reach another level.”
The next level Munoz is trying to reach is earning his first professional championship. Munoz has once again been scheduled to challenge for the KOTC 135-pound belt which was made vacant when Gravely agreed to fight for Dana White’s Contender Series. Munoz was really looking forward to fighting Gravely since Gravely has been ranked as one of the top fighters in his weight class for a very long time.
“I’m bummed about that because I wanted that fight so bad because he was ranked up there and that was the fight I needed to push me up. That fight was a lot of emotions for me, that last one I had to pull out, I worked my ass off so hard man and I felt like it was going to be a tough challenging fight. I saw myself coming out of that one (victorious), regardless of what anyone said. I felt he had a lot of holes in his game that I was able to capitalize on. Now we’re not going to be able find out, I feel like that’s the fight I needed to put me to the next level, so I was bummed out about that. I’m sure I’ll see him around soon.”
Instead, Munoz will face JacksonWink product Rentsen Otgontulga (4-1) who replaced Drako Rodriguez a week out from the fight. For Munoz, it doesn’t matter who steps across the cage from him, the objective is the same.
“For me nothing changes. Same objective, different head to slap off. The outcome will be the same and that’s me walking out with the strap.”
As always, Munoz isn’t worried how he matches up with a replacement fighter as he has done it several times before. He has the belief that he is walking away with a victory via a finish.
“I like all matchups, that’s what makes fighting a mad game. Everyone fights, moves and reacts differently. In knowing this, this allows me to react differently as well with a variety of different techniques and attacks that I can win by. I feel he will come out and bring it. That is until I show him why I am the man. I respect him as a fighter but its not his respect I’m after. It’s his arm in the first and that’s my prediction.”
After the fight, Munoz plans on celebrating his Hispanic heritage in appreciation for the support he’s gotten from his Hispanic fans.
“I appreciate all of my Latin followers, Mexico and all the Latin American countries, I appreciate all the support you’ve been giving me lately on Instagram (@kidkvenbo) and hopefully I’ll be able to train with you guys soon. I’ll be able to bring that nice shiny el dorado belt with me.”