Tony Martin: Fresh Start at a New Weight

Tony Martin warms up backstage during the UFC Fight Night event inside Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 15, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tony Martin has been a staple in the UFC since 2014. The Brock Larson project has recently begun training with American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. The former lightweight has officially made the move up to welterweight his a successful debut at his new weight class with a victory over Keita Nakamura at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Lee.

The Beginning with Brock Larson

“I got into MMA from a buddy I used to play football with. He said I should come [to] check this gym out. I walked into Brock Larson’s gym and pretty much knew from day one. I knew it’s what I wanted,” Martin told MMASucka. “I didn’t know all the ins and outs but I had never been so overwhelmed in a sport before and it drove me to love it.” Start BJJ in St. Cloud, Minnesota is where Martin found his love for mixed martial arts.

Larson had quite the MMA career himself. He earned a staggering record of 42-10 during his professional career that spanned over 14 years with time in WEC, UFC, and One Fighting Championship – among other promotions. “[Larson] built me from the bottom and has pushed me to better myself by traveling to other gyms and working with other people outside of himself,” Martin stated. “It takes an extraordinary coach to take a step back and do what is best for their fighter even if they can’t offer it to them.”

Professional Career and Joining the UFC

Martin’s professional career began in January 2012 with a victory over Bruce Johnson at Cage Fighting Xtreme 30. Martin would pull off the victory with a first-round submission. Over the next year and a half, he would earn a record of 8-0. One of those victories would come over former UFC veteran, Phillipe Nover at Dakota FC 14. Martin would go on to win two more bouts after the Nover victory before receiving the call to join the UFC.

The big UFC debut came at UFC 169 in February 2014. Though he sustained a loss to Rashid Magomedov, Martin went the distance with a very dangerous opponent. He would then face another tough opponent, Beneil Dariush, before finally securing his first victory. That victory would come against Fabricio Camoes at UFC 179 by way of first-round submission. After his first victory, Martin would start building momentum going on to win three of his next four bouts at lightweight. Martin would go on to lose a close split decision to lightweight star Olivier Aubin-Mercier in September 2017 before making the move up to welterweight.

Lightweight to Welterweight

The move up in weight would be made at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee in April 2018. Martin dominated Keita Nakamura for the unanimous decision victory and looked comfortable in his new weight class. “Welterweight is my new division and I plan on staying there for the rest of my career unless they add a 165 weight class,” Martin told MMASucka. “Outside of that I feel great at 170 and think I have been underperforming because I have been cutting so much weight.” Recently, Martin joined American Top Team to enhance his training at the world-class facility.

“Training at ATT was Brock’s recommendation from early on in my career. The athletes that go there are amazing and the coaches are the best in the world.” Martin stated. “The coaches all work together and push you to be the best in all facets of the game. Mike Brown is one of the best coaches in the world for sure.”

Martin is working with the top strength and conditioning coaches to help transition to a bigger 170-pound fighter. “I’m working with my strength coach Phil Daru on putting some more muscle on so I think size won’t be a factor,” Martin stated. Hopefully, the move up in weight will prove to the world what Martin can truly bring to the UFC. His 5-4 record in the UFC is more impressive when you consider the weight issues he’s had. A move to welterweight could influence a rebirth and a breath of fresh air.

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