UFC Vegas 24: Alex Munoz Reflects on First MMA Loss

Team Alpha Male’s Alex Munoz might be best known as the guy who beat Nick Newell on Dana White’s Contender Series, then didn’t earn a UFC deal. But Munoz is in the UFC now, preparing for his sophomore outing against Luis Pena at UFC Vegas 24 on Saturday night.

His promotional debut, however, did not go as planned. Going up against Nasrat Haqparast last year, Munhoz (6-1) lost a unanimous decision. It was the first defeat of his professional career.

“It didn’t go exactly how I planned, but I didn’t dwell on it too much,” he said of a rather rough 2020, speaking during this week’s UFC Vegas 24 media day. “It’s just moving forward from there, and keeping a short memory when things don’t go as planned, and looking forward to the future.”

The loss seems to have become a talking point, given Munoz is considered a top prospect out of a top camp. But it’s not as if he’s never tasted defeat before, the lightweight pointed out. “A lot of people have been asking me ‘what is it like losing?’ I’ve probably had a thousand wrestling matches, I’ve been doing sports since I was a little kid. I’ve been losing my whole life, it’s nothing new,” Munhoz stated. “It’s part of growing, it’s part of becoming the next version of yourself and building. It’s just part of this, that’s all it is. I don’t focus on it, I just focus on the next win I’m going to get.”

And so when it comes to takeaways from the fight, “I spent a lot more time focusing on the things we did right. Obviously, there’s always room to improve, there’s always things we can fix. We went back to the drawing board, we tightened some things up,” Munhoz continued. “But whether I won that fight or not, that’s stuff I would have been doing anyways. The win or loss on the record doesn’t really change how we move forward after the fight. No matter what, we’re going to try to improve and try to do better and try to be a better version of what we can do.”

Now, Alex Munoz heads into UFC Vegas 24 with things looking up. In part because he has exactly the fight he wanted. “I was excited about that. I wanted that fight. I’ve been wanting it. It was supposed to be my debut, it didn’t end up happening.” Munoz, in fact, was forced out of a fight with Luis Pena just over a year ago, in what would have been the Team Alpha Male fighter’s debut. So when the opportunity arose to get the fight back, “I jumped on it right away.”

Alex Munoz faces Luis “Violent Bob Ross” Pena at UFC Vegas 24 on Saturday, April 17. The event airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).