Listening to Martin Day talk about the beach, the waves and the weather in Hawaii makes you wonder how anyone would want to leave all that behind to train for a career as a prizefighter.
“I love that, though,” he laughs. “I love being in the gym.”
And he loves fighting. So, when he finally got his shot to compete in the UFC Octagon in November 2018, he didn’t care that he had to take an over 5,000 mile journey to Beijing, China. He just wanted to be in the big show.
“It was everything and more,” Day said of his UFC debut. “It's just cool to be a part of it. This is an organization that everyone is trying to get into as fighters; we all want to get to the top and this is the NFL of fighting. This is where it's at. It was a cool experience.”
It almost didn’t even matter that Day ended up on the wrong side of a split decision to Liu Pingyuan.
“No, I won that fight,” Day says without hesitation. “I won that fight a hundred percent. Anyway, the past is the past and I don't dwell on it, but I did win, so in my book, that's a win.”
He laughs, annoyed that there is a mark in his loss column, but confident that he won’t be seeing one of those anytime soon if he has his way on fight night.
“I gotta finish fights,” Day said. “Even in a fight like that where I feel like I won and it goes to a decision, I feel like I didn't do my job. My job is to go in there and finish people and that's what I intend to do.”
That’s always easier said than done at the UFC level, and while Day admits that the competition is much tougher here, he also believes no one can dodge his incoming fire for too long.
“Everyone in the UFC is good,” he said. “These are all the top guys in the world. But in mixed martial arts, there are so many different things that can happen, so many different weapons that can be used against you or that you can use, so the chances of being able to just go on the full defensive and survive are a lot lower, especially when you're in there with a striker like me. I'm going in there and looking for the finish and I have a plethora of weapons at my disposal. I'm ready to use all of those.”
He was going to have a willing dance partner in fellow slugger Randy Costa on the March 28 UFC Fight Night card that ultimately got postponed, but a look at his Instagram account on March 21 showed that the delay in returning was nothing a few waves couldn’t cure. And that’s the attitude that has gotten the 31-year-old to this point in his life. Be serious when it’s time to work, but make sure there’s some time to take the sunny side of life in, as well.
“Every day is a day to enjoy over here,” the bantamweight from Kailua said. “The beach is right down the road, and sometimes I think we take that for granted over here that we have some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. You can definitely squeeze it in between training sessions.”
And hey, after injuries kept him sidelined for all of 2019, forcing bouts against Chris Gutierrez and Benito Lopez to be scrapped, a little longer wait will only have Day more amped up for his eventual return to the Octagon.
“I'm just excited to get back in there and do what I was made to do,” he said. “I was made for this; I was made to go in there and compete. The Octagon is my home and I just intend on showing that in every fight to come.”
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