It doesn’t take much for people to decide to move to south Florida. It has beaches, great weather, and for mixed martial artists, one of the most well-known gyms out there.
Pedro Munhoz picked up only one win in his first four UFC fights despite holding an undefeated record before making his promotional debut. In 2017, Munhoz decided to make the move to Coconut Creek, Florida, to train at American Top Team, and the move paid off.
“Being the last two years in American Top Team was definitely something that was a lot of change for me, and training-wise, people (are) coming (from) all over the place all the time,” Munhoz said. “Every week we have a different body. So it's kind of like it pushes you in those different skills.”
It’s hard to argue against the results of Munhoz’s decision to move.
Over the last couple of years, Munhoz picked up some steam in the bantamweight division. With six wins in his last seven fights, “The Young Punisher” is trying to establish himself in a crowded group of contenders at 135 pounds.
At UFC 235, he has the chance to rocket up the rankings when he takes on former champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 235. The fight is Garbrandt’s first since suffering the first two losses of his career in back-to-back bouts with champion T.J. Dillashaw. Munhoz, knowing Garbrandt is eager to return to his winning ways, is prepared for a desperate “No Love.”
“I see two different ways. One way I see him coming in crazy and try to finish this fight,” Munhoz said. “The other way that I see him is to be more calm, (not) just throw everything he has first a minute or two or so.”
Regardless of how his opponent comes out, Munhoz said he’ll maintain his usual game plan of forward movement and consistent pressure. All but two of his UFC wins have come by way of a finish, and he says he expects more of the same on March 2. With all the work he has put in while training in Florida the last two years, his confidence is more than understandable.
“I love my job, and that's the reason that I moved my whole family to South Florida to train full time (at) American Top Team,” Munhoz said.
“UFC knows that every time I fight, you know it's showtime.”
UFC: How has American Top Team helped you maybe round out your game a little bit?
PM: Oh yeah definitely. Definitely. We also have a lot of coaches there. We have a great stand up coach. Great jujitsu. Great wrestler. You know. So it's kind of like help you get better well-rounded.
UFC: Now when you're on the type of run, do you kind of feel like your confidence is growing or is it just each fight, you take in more individually.
PM: Each fight, we take individually (and use) is a different strategy, different gameplan. It doesn't mean that I'm going to change the way that I fight because I'm aggressive, always moving forward. This is not going to change, but each fight, we try to get training partners copying (my opponents) or they have the same skills, which is important. And that's pretty much it. It's each fight. We work in something different than the other ones.
UFC: It sounds like you're ready for just a bunch of different outcomes and like most fighters are focused on one way they want to dominate the fight we use kind of control from all of all aspects of it all.
PM: The beginning my life, I started doing boxing. A lot of people think that, you know, I came from jujitsu. Yes, I was training jujitsu, competing in Brazil for a long time and became black belt in a young age. I won the nationals a few times, the state in Brazil, but also also at the same time that I was training competing jujitsu I was training boxing. I did a few amateur fights. So that's the reason that every time every time I fight I don't look desperate to take my opponents down and I’m always there to exchange enjoy fighting standing.
UFC: Was it difficult to move your family for training? Was that a difficult transition for you guys or was it basically everybody was on the same page about it?
PM: It was kind of easy. My wife she was you know at home the whole time for two years before I decided to move into American Top Team. I fought a couple guys there before in UFC and organizations too. So I kind of knew the coaches there. And I'd been there in 2015 for 10 days. Came back to L.A. starting training here than I decided and went back there in 2017 and then I stayed there by myself and my whole family came back and had a fight, fought Damian Stasiak in Sweden. And then I moved my whole family there and now we stay we stay in a hotel for a while close to the gym after the fight and we're able to buy a house. So it's good.
Zac Pacleb is a writer and producer for UFC.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ZacPacleb.