Host, Larry Pepe had two guests on this week’s edition of Pro MMA Radio entitled the “Rising Stars” episode. Both guests will be appearing on tonight’s WEC 37 fight card which airs live on VERSUS starting at 7 pm CT.

The first guest was 4-0 undefeated fighter, Mark Munoz who will be taking on Ricardo Barros at light heavyweight.  This will be Munoz’s second and last fight with the WEC since they have merged the two heavier weight classes into the UFC.

Munoz is an NCAA National Champion and two-time All-American collegiate wrestler.  He attended Oklahoma State and was at one time ranked #1 in the nation.

Munoz is very humble and realizes he has a lot to learn in his young MMA career.  He mentioned Mike “The Joker” Guymon, Freddie Roach and the guys at the Wild Card Gym as some of the guys helping him put this whole MMA thing together.  He has also spent a considerable amount of time with Urijah Faber.  In fact, Munoz cornered Urijah in his first three pro fights.

It was also witnessing the success Urijah Faber has garnered through his involvement in MMA that caused Munoz to want to devote himself to the sport.

Mark Munoz has a Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology which has to be a huge aid to his mental game.

Munoz’s opponent for WEC 37, Ricardo Barros, has trained with a lot of Munoz’s friends so he knows quite a bit about him.  Barros comes from a jiu-jitsu background and owns an academy.  

Munoz is excited about the opportunity to fight in the UFC following this match.  He believes his wrestling background and love of training will distinguish him among the deep waters that is the UFC light heavyweight division.

Munoz is a Phillipino-American and is thrilled at the prospect of being able to fight on a UFC card in the Phillipines.

Pep’s next guest is also on the WEC 37 fight card.  His name is Joseph Benavidez (8-0) and he will be facing Danny Martinez (12-2).  Benavidez is being touted as the “next big thing” at bantamweight.

When asked what fans can expect to see out of Benavidez at WEC 37, he replied, “A lot of action.  I am always going forward and plan to finish the fight. A lot of technique, speed, and power all in one.”  Those are not empty words either.  Benavidez has finished every opponent in his professional MMA career.  That’s eight fights in a row, all finished and only one of his opponents made it to the third round only to get a nice TKO for his trouble.

Benavidez’s last fight was in July of this year at Dream 5 where he defeated Junya Kudo at 2:42 of round one by a guillotine choke submission.

Benavidez was originally slated to face Kid Yamamoto at Dream 5 but Yamamoto had to pull out due to injury.  

Dream was supposed to pay Benavidez within ten business days however, according to him, it took about a month and a half. Not only did it take much longer than expected, but they never gave him a reason for the delay. They simply ignored his attempts at communication. 

Benavidez is in the same weight class as Torres and Tapia who will also be fighting on the WEC 37 card.  He thinks Tapia has a bit more power in his punches but Torres is more technical.  On the ground he gives the distinct advantage to Torres.

“Big John” McCarthy said on Inside MMA that he belives Joseph Benavidez will be the “Breakout Star of 2009.” Benavidez has never met McCarthy and was sitting at home watching the show when it aired.  He was honored that Big John said that about him and thanked him on the air.

To listen to this entire episode of Pro MMA Radio episode 24 go HERE.

Pro MMA Radio, with host Larry Pepe, airs every Monday evening at 6pm PST / 9pm EST at

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