Martin Day: Continuing the Hawaiian UFC Presence

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Hawaii is a very proud fighting state. Not only is it home to the current UFC featherweight champion, Max Holloway, but also the legendary UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn. Hawaiian fighters are known for their warrior spirit and “never say die” attitude. One of those newly minted UFC talents; Martin Day.

Early Beginnings

Though of Hawaiian descent and where he currently resides, Day was actually born in Nagoya, Japan.

“I was born in Japan because my family were missionaries there,” Day stated to MMASucka. “I was a United States citizen born abroad. My dad is from Hawaii and I’ve lived here [Hawaii] since I was about nine months old.”

“I started training in Taekwondo when I was 13 and I started competing around the same time,” Day told MMASucka. “I started boxing around the age of 15 and accumulated quite a bit of amateur kickboxing fights and decided to try MMA.”

Currently, Day is a 4th degree Dan Black Belt in ITF Taekwondo.

Day took to the new sport quickly taking his first amateur bout in May 2014 where he won via knockout. He would compete two more times before the end of 2014 racking up two more finishes. Day turned pro after six months in the amateur brackets, earning a 3-0 record. Day’s finale in the amateur ranks ended with him landing a beautiful spinning back kick to knock out his opponent, Ryan Mondala at Destiny Na Koa 8 in 2011.

Early Professional Days

Prior to his August 2017 shot on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Day earned an impressive record, as a professional, which read 6-1 to that point. Five of those victories were by way of finishing showing the UFC he had finishing potential. Day’s lone bump in the road prior to DWTNCS came in March 2017 when he suffered defeat to Bellator and LFA veteran Nohelin Hernandez.

Day’s first shot under the ZUFFA lights came against Jaime Alvarez on DWTNCS in August 2017. Day took the fight at flyweight which showed to be a tremendously hard weight-cut. Day came out early with very solid leg kicks but was unable to get the judges’ decision at the end of the bout. The weigh-cut proved to be too much on Day’s body though he still had an impressive showing.

Finally Earning the UFC Contract

Though the Alvarez bout did not go as Day would have liked, he took the defeat and continued to roll through the Hawaiian and California regional scenes. Day won all three of his following bouts, two of them by finishes. The final of the three was against the undefeated Brady Huang. Huang was 8-0 going into the matchup with all eight bouts ending by finish and seven of those eight ending in the first round. The two battled URCC 34: Destiny in August of 2018 as the co-main event to former UFC veteran Tyson Griffin. Day made quick work of the undefeated star, knocking out Huang in the second round.

Entering the UFC and the Future

After the three-fight dominant run, Day finally received the call to fight under the UFC banner. His debut came at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. N’Gannou in November 2018. The American Day took on Chinese fighter Pingyuan Liu in China. The hometown Liu was awarded the split decision in a closely contested battle. Day was scheduled to compete for the second time with the organization at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis card but had to pull out due to injury. “I’m currently undergoing recovery for my knee and I will be back soon!” Day stated.

Look to see Day back in the cage and to continue to show the Hawaiian fighting spirit we have all come to love in Island fighters. “I love representing Hawaii and training out of Hawaii. To me, it’s a big deal to represent the Islands in a way that shows our warrior spirit and aloha,” Day stated. “Being able to represent Hawaii means the world to me.”

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Matt's love and passion for martial arts began at the age of four with Taekwondo. Matt later trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while serving nearly ten years in law enforcement. Matt has just recently discovered his passion of writing on mixed martial arts.

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