It was a tough 2012 for UFC middleweight stalwart Mark Munoz. A father of four, an owner of a gym encompassing top talents, and all while dealing with his own budding mma career — “The Wrecking Machine” is no stranger to striving.

After reaching a top contenders match-up against Chael Sonnen and being forced out due to injury, then losing in devastating fashion to current top contender Chris Weidman in July 2012 it was needless to say a bad year. That bad year left Munoz with added body weight and doubt.  Since the downward spiral, Munoz has climbed out of his mild depression and moved forward in his journey to rise to the top again.

 “When you saw me Karyn [Bryant], I was actually very big. That was the tail-spin. Kind of went into depression. I was like one of the characters in Austin Powers, Fat Bastard. I ate because I was sad and I was sad because I ate. It was just bad, but I think adversity is the best at sharpening a diamond.”

As for his upcoming challenge in Tim Boetsch at UFC 162 on July 6, Munoz is training to be well prepared.

“I’ve been really focusing on my wrestling. I’ve been really doing a lot of jiu-jitsu as well. My striking, I’ve always looked to hone my skills. Most importantly is getting the gameplan down — without giving too much away. I want to be able to transition between striking to wrestling, to grappling, to work my patented ground and pound.”

Photographer: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports