Friday night (Sept. 27, 2013), the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was hit with some terrible news. Middleweight contender Michael Bisping was forced from his UFC Fight Night 30 bout with Mark Munoz due to a eye injury. Initial reports didn't state the seriousness, but it was later released that the injury was related to a detached retina that required surgery.
Machida and Munoz have worked together in the past as Munoz has a close working relationship with the Blackhouse Gym. He even was the in-house wrestling coach before opening up the Reign Training Center.
Duane Finley of Bleacher Report was the first to talk to Munoz about the change in opponent. Munoz doesn't seem too upset about the match up, he's just a bit disappointed as he was planning on working with Machida to prepare for Bisping.
"It is kind of a crazy turn," Munoz told Bleacher Report. "I didn't even know [Michael] Bisping was hurt, and then all of a sudden, I'm fighting Lyoto Machida in three weeks. I'm down to fight anyone at any time, but I have to admit, the whole thing kind of surprised me because it all came in at the same time and was very last minute. But that is the nature of this game, and you have to be ready for anything.
"Lyoto and I were planning on training together soon because he was fighting Tim Kennedy and I was fighting Bisping, but my opponent got injured, Lyoto stepped in, and now we are going to fight. He is a friend of mine and we have trained together in the past, but that isn't something I have a problem with. I've fought friends before and it's nothing personal.
This bout marks the first time that Machida will fight at middleweight. He has always been considered "small" for light heavyweight, but was able to overcome the size difference by utilizing better technique and controlling distance. He's also one of the few fighters that truly presented an interesting stylistic matchup for Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.
Munoz has been a mainstay in the middleweight division and currently looks to have reinvented himself after a year off following a devastating loss to Chris Weidman at UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs Weidman in San Jose last year. He's leaner and meaner and is likely a win or two away from challenging for the title.
UFC Fight Night 30 takes place on October 26 at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England. The bouts will air on Fox Sports 1.