Red-hot Munib Salmani is riding high with four straight KO wins heading into his Lights Out debut at Lights Out 4 on June 29 in Grand Rapids. Before he scraps Anthony Mychael, he spoke with FightBook MMA.
How did you find MMA to begin with?
Basically, I used to watch a lot of action movies. Chuck Norris and Bloodsport were big ones. From there, I found a local Taekwondo gym at around seven years old. Then I found the UFC while I was in high school and started watching MMA in ninth grade. I signed up at the local MMA gym right after.
What’s kept you in the sport all this time?
Right off the bat, at my first gym, within a few weeks I picked up on it, big. Very soon after, they had me teaching classes. When you’re super-talented, everything comes very easy, but when you have to teach, you have to break it down. So, I became super-technical and focused on getting better all of the time. That’s made me a better fighter and teacher.
Are you going to have a lot of supporters there on fight night?
Yeah, I believe so. There’s a buzz going around my hometown after the last couple of big knockouts I’ve had. Everybody’s talking about it, they all know.
Does that add any pressure to you?
I really stressed out in my first couple of professional fights and was carrying that around on my shoulders. But after hitting real lows, I realized that nothing can be worse than that. Now it’s all about me. It’s all about having fun and enjoying the sport like when I first started and going out giving it my best and having a great time. Lately, I’ve been trying to enjoy the entire process. Other than the early wakeups, I’ve been enjoying the whole fight week, just chilling.
Are you going for another first round knockout or are you looking to spend more time in the cage with this next fight?
I always say, if you can knock somebody out, knock them out in the first round. I always try to knock somebody out. He better be worried about me knocking his head off from the first second to the last second. I’m always looking to finish the fight.
We don’t see a lot of first round knockouts from guys your size. Why are you able to put guys away at this weight?
I hit really hard. Even asking my boxing coach, you wouldn’t expect to get hit that hard by a guy my size. I’m not afraid to throw when I go out there. My coach will tell me, “go out there and throw your shit.” I throw down. I’m not worried about the consequences. If you watch one of my fights, my shoulder dislocated and I’m still punching, trying to knock this guy out, no matter what.
Has anyone had a bigger influence on you than Daron Cruickshank?
Probably not. Even at my old gym, they would tell me, “don’t go train with that guy,” this and that. And then I looked him up, and he looked sweet, so I went and trained with him. He’s pretty legit. He’s one of my biggest influences in my fight career and as a personal mentor.
What’s the most likely outcome of this fight?
I feel like I’m going to be able to pick Anthony apart. No disrespect to him, but I just feel like he’s very flat-footed and that will be his downfall. I just think I’m the better fighter. Even if he tries to grapple me, he’ll be surprised. My grappling is very underrated and I haven’t had a chance to show a lot of it. It’s definitely there, I’ve been working on my takedown defense for a very long time. I’ve always wanted to show it, so I hope he does shoot in so I can show that off. My wall wrestling is very good, too, so I hope I get to show off a lot of that stuff.
Where would you like to be one year from today?
I would like to be signing with a big promotion one year from today.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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