They say to be cautious what you wish for, but Brendan Allen could not be happier that his request for an encounter against Andre Muniz was granted.
Just after his submission victory over Krzysztof Jonko in October, Allen extolled Muniz as his next opponent. He even said he’d gladly fight the Brazilian native fighter in Brazil if the UFC visited South America in January.
According to Allen, Muniz initially balked at the offer to fight him, which is why they didn’t clash at UFC 283 but his wish was still granted with the middleweights now set to face off in the co-main event at UFC Vegas 70 on Saturday.
“It took a little while,” Allen told MMA Fighting. He didn’t want fight for the first time, whatever case it was. He wanted to fight higher, but couldn’t. Although I do not know the reason, I can tell that he refused to fight. It was a long process that took several months. It could have been done a couple of weeks earlier in Brazil. But I don’t know what happened.
” Who else are you looking to fight? I don’t know if he doesn’t want to fight someone or they don’t want to fight him but I’m always down to party, especially with enough notice. He knows I am the most dangerous opponent that he can face stylistically. We’re probably going to discover .”
Since arriving in the UFC, Muniz has gone undefeated with five straight wins while working his way into the top 15 rankings at 185 pounds.
While Allen may have more wins overall in the Octagon, he hasn’t yet earned that mysterious number by his name. This frustrates him and he’s learned to overlook it as he continues to move forward with his career.
“The rankings make zero sense to me whatsoever,” Allen said. “I feel like there should be a set of guidelines if we’re going to have rankings that we should go by but it’s more political than guidelines. It’s favoritism. This is more of a contest for popularity than it is to determine who the best fighter.
“It’s super aggravating, at least it was for me when I first came in. At this point in my career, I don’t even care. I still get paid the same either way. I don’t care where I’m at on the card. I don’t care what number is next to my name.”
A win over Muniz would certainly vault Allen into those rankings but his reason behind asking for the fight really came down to the way he felt he could challenge a fighter who’s being called the best grappler in the middleweight division and perhaps a future champion.
That’s exactly the kind of challenge that Allen wanted to seek out because he just hasn’t been afforded that kind of opportunity yet since joining the UFC roster.
Of course, Allen is cognizant that he’s fighting Muniz in MMA rather than a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition but that’s actually a reminder he believes his opponent needs to have in mind once they meet in the cage.
“I feel like I’m the worst matchup for him,” Allen explained. “Obviously, I know he’s good in the positions he’s good at. He is solid in jiu jitsu. He has a couple of tricky moves that he does but overall I think my jiu-jitsu is just as good if not better, especially in this sport.
“Pure jiu-jitsu is way different from MMA jiu-jitsu. One elbow, one punch, those things change massively. You kind of forget about jiu-jitsu when you’re constantly getting hit with big elbows and you can’t do what you want to do. Those things change massively and I pride myself on those being the best part of my game.”
Allen concedes that Muniz might land a takedown at some point during the fight but that doesn’t frighten him the way it might force some other fighters to shift into panic mode.
Instead, he is open to taking on the challenge even if it ends in the ground. Allen also promises Muniz that he will have a rough awakening if he expects to wrap up his submission and end the night.
“I’m not coming to fight his fight,” Allen said. Allen said, “I am coming to make him lose his fight.” I’m not just going to sit here and let him take me down. I’m not going to let him stay on top. I’m not letting him do anything. If he does get me down, I’m ready to go. All those transitions are possible for me. I’m ready for those scrambles. He can throw anything at me.
“I’m prepared. I’m coming to make him quit. He will be able to quit, I believe. We’ll see how good he is when he’s got blood running down his face or we’re in those later rounds and I’m still standing there and I’m ready to go. He’s still in my face, I can still throw with speed and power. We’ll see how he deals with those things.”