Andre Muniz is 7-0 inside the octagon if you take both Contender Series victories into account, but he’s still missing that big victory over a top-ranked opponent to finally be seen as a potential contender for the belt.
“Sergipano” might not get that Saturday, when he faces a talented but unranked Brendan Allen in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 70, but feels he could be in a turning point in his career.
“I’m not a hyped guy, one with a ton of media,” Muniz said on this week’s Trocação Franca podcast. “Like it or not, the UFC takes that into account now. I’m a risk not worth the reward [for ranked fighters].
“I said I’d take fights on short notice, when [Jared] Cannonier and [Sean] Strickland fell off, but they didn’t give it to me. I agreed to fight Jack Hermansson but it was two weeks out and that was not enough time for me to get my work visa, so the UFC put someone else in instead.”
Muniz admits he needs to work on his personal marketing and other ways to promote himself outside the cage. When he’s under the bright lights of the UFC, “Sergipano” gets the job done with impressive wins like his armbar finishes of Ronaldo Souza and Eryk Anders, but that’s not enough in this day and age.
“The only option they gave me was Brendan Allen, who was on a good winning streak,” Muniz said. “I’m an athlete and I train hard, I have to work. I have two daughters, I have a family, and I have to work no matter what. My last fight was in July, so I needed this. I just wanted a name.”
He won’t complain too much, but watching matches like Derek Brunson vs. Dricus Du Plessis and Chris Curtis vs. Kelvin Gastelum get announced for future UFC cards did bother him.
“We get upset but I understand the context,” Muniz said. “I understand it’s a show, it’s not just going out there and fighting. I understand I’m still building my career and putting my name out there, but there’s something important behind all that. There are no arguments against facts. If God willing I win this fight, it will be my sixth win in the organization. The organization should give me a big name, should give me someone.”
Allen is 8-2 in the UFC with submission wins over the likes of Kevin Holland, Krzysztof Jotko and Sam Alvey, losing only to Chris Curtis and Sean Strickland under the company’s banner, and Muniz expects him to be tougher than a ranked foe because “his will to win” is probably bigger since he wants to “break through” in the middleweight division.
“We’ve studied him a lot and we know of his potential, we know what he has to offer,” Muniz said. “He’s from a great American team, so I’m ready to go to war if necessary. My plan is always the same, to submit everybody in the division. I don’t care about names, I want to submit everybody I fight.”
“Sergipano” did not reveal which name he plans on calling out after UFC Vegas 70 if victorious, but mentioned Jared Cannonier, Sean Strickland, or the winner of Brunson vs. Du Plessis, booked for UFC 285 on March 4.
“There are some names to look at,” Muniz said, “but I think the easiest way to get an answer to my callout, to mention a name and get an immediate response of someone wanting to throw down, would be Strickland. He’s crazy [laughs].”