Photo Credit: the Fight Network

Johnny “Kid Kvenbo” Munoz: The Anti-Hero You Can Root For

“I’m an anti-hero, at the end of the day it’s all show business and I still want to leave a great legacy behind where I can touch people.”

The beginning and end of that sentence definitely contradict each other, it’s hard to believe that an antagonist wants to do good. But the words in the middle of the sentence, the realization of the world one lives in is key. It’s also a quote that when thought about, makes a lot of sense when considering who said it. The end contradicts beginning, but the middle of the story brings it together and makes it all make sense. That is the story of Johnny “Kid Kvenbo” Munoz.

Munoz hated jiu-jitsu and combat sports when he was five and his dad made him take classes so he’d learn to defend himself. His dad, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and instructor, thought it was best for his son to learn those skills. But his son wasn’t enjoying it, it became a fight to get him to do it. In the end, the younger Munoz found a passion for it. It took a few years but after watching Pride when he was eight years old, Johnny Munoz found a career he wanted.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do since I was eight years old, that’s when it started for me,” said Munoz. “I want to be that guy on TV beating people up.”

Soon after, Munoz trained all the time, he dabbled in soccer but jiu-jitsu and combat sports were what he continued to pursue and love. It wasn’t long until he earned his nickname “Kid Kvenbo,” a nickname that was his father’s and then placed on him. The name “Kvenbo” is the elder Munoz’s stepfather’s last name and “Kid Kvenbo” has been passed down from generation to generation. Naturally, the younger Munoz couldn’t stand it at first but now, loves it.

Cause jits is tits…

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“I’m Mexican American, so I really embrace my heritage, that’s why I didn’t really like Kvenbo growing up,” said Munoz. “My dad started calling me ‘Kid Kvenbo,’ I was the youngest one in the family. The funny thing is, that was his nickname growing up but he passed it along to me that’s why I just took it and it stuck. People are like what does it mean it sounds cool. Even the announcer, Dean Stone of King of the Cage he told me he likes saying my name when I come out because it’s different.”

Different is something he has set out to be from the very beginning of his training. When he was around the junior high level, Munoz had the opportunity to join the wrestling team. It was an interesting proposition for him because it was something many successful fighters have done on their way up. But he started to think of one of his idols and how he developed. After all, Georges St-Pierre was doing pretty well for himself.

“I thought it was really cool that GSP was a phenomenal wrestler within MMA always taking guys down, taking wrestlers down with way more experience (or wrestled in) NCAA I thought that was real cool,” said Munoz.” “I was like you know what, I don’t want to wrestle in school. If he’s doing it, I could do it too. I really respected that. Some people might say it’s stupid or silly of me to do that, but I feel like I made the right choice.”

It’s through these unique choices that has led the world champion jiu-jitsu player to become an undefeated MMA fighter. He debuted in 2014 and has won five fights as a pro and had three wins as an amateur. Four of his five professional fights were finishes while he was able to finish all of his amateur bouts.

All of his bouts have been for King of the Cage, an organization that has produced many stars of the sport including T.J. Dillashaw and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. He has no intention to leave until he is fully prepared for the big show.

“I’m really just trying to get better man,” said Munoz. “Everybody tries to rush things, they want to get a belt or they become 5-0 or whatever their record is, they get a little bigheaded and they think they’re ready for the UFC and they go on there and sometimes it doesn’t always work out, you want to be 100% confident. Like for me, eventually when I move on I just want to know, my first UFC fight whoever it is, I just want to know I’m ready, I’ll take out the champion right now. You have to have that mentality. It’s not about getting in there, it’s about staying in there and knowing you can beat up anybody in the division.”

5-0 and the rise continues. What a historical event that @kingofthecage @mavtv & @cbbankarena put on last night. Thanks to all the fans and those watching at home for the tremendous support. Congrats to @rennyay on his win. You looked great last night. Shoutout to all my sponsors that took care of me for this fight camp. Special shoutout to everyone that purchased a ticket from me, my teammates at @cquencebjj and my coaches for investing their time in me. Much love to my bros @monstarmma and @superglue97 for always being their for me. Happy bday to my little sister @small_fry95 that win was for you. Lastly, thanks to my parents for teaching me the way to create my own journey. All you fuel me. The rise continues, the takeover is on the horizon, and the new era begins.

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Though Munoz means business when he steps in the cage, he’s learned to appreciate all he has and who he has done it with. Early on it felt like a chore to train with his family and now it feels like a blessing. He is also able to pass along his knowledge, love of the sport and life lessons to kids as a teacher.

He also recently graduated from college with a degree in public health, though he put aspirations of graduate school aside to pursue his fighting career. In the next five years, he plans on becoming one of the top fighters in the sport, with a legacy of impacting others.

“I feel like getting the belt, being in the big show and really touching others lives man, that’s where I see myself in five years. Where I’m the champion, I’m not only the champion but a world champion in life.”

The beginning has been written, the middle has certainly been different, but Johnny Munoz’s story is definitely not complete yet.

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