Fighting in the Octagon under the UFC banner is a dream come true for most fighters. As a kid, you grow up watching starry-eyed athletes step into the Octagon, leaving their blood, sweat, and tears on the canvas while you see them evolve into the sport’s biggest legends. Its inspiring to a young mind and makes you think, “I want to be like them someday.”
“I’m excited, motivated - a bunch of mixed emotions - but I’m ready for this.”
Martinez started his journey back in 2008. He watched Roger Huerta fight in the UFC, and this was a catalyst for the 31-year-old to start training jiu-jitsu, eventually earning his black belt. After a couple years, he transitioned to MMA. The young athlete admired legends like BJ Penn and used them as inspiration. He’s been a professional fighter since 2011 and has slowly been making a name for himself around the sport, earning a Fury FC 155-pound title.
“I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s my time. It’s been 13 years that I’ve been trying to chase this and I’m here now, so I’ve got to make the best of it.”
The newcomer is no stranger to the UFC APEX, where he earned a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series with a unanimous decision against Jacob Rosales. He hopes that his experience in the familiar building will give him a sense of comfortability come Saturday.
“It was definitely an experience being in the APEX under the Contender Series banner, but now under a UFC banner [it’s going to help] me with the nerves. I’m here now and I’m enjoying everything. I’m soaking it all up and I just can’t wait.”
Martinez’ professional story doesn’t stray far from the typical fighter archetype. In other words, it hasn’t been easy. Injuries and a rollercoaster of wins and losses are just a few of the variables that have made his journey a tough one.
“Up and downs for sure. From losing fights to being on a streak and then having another hiccup. So far, I’m on a streak but I had to deal with injuries and stuff, so it definitely has been an up and down road.”
But the Texan isn’t resentful. He understands that these fluctuations are a part of the process, and you must face them head-on to be great.
“Now that I think about it, I feel like I needed all that. It prepared me to be a better fighter and just a better person overall. In the moment, you’re like, why is this happening to me? But now that I’ve passed through all of that and I just kept going, I’m grateful for all those ups and downs because it wouldn’t have put me in this position, it wouldn’t have made me who I am today.”
The lightweight credits who he is today to a competitive gym atmosphere at Fortis MMA, where he works with elite level teammates, who he is always supporting. “Every time they fight, I always got to tune in. My coach (Sayif Saud), I’m a big fan of him and I would say that those are the guys that inspire me and motivate me.”
His surroundings had everything to do with this moment.
Martinez is drawn to this sport for numerous reasons, but the endless possibilities stand out, as what he could be and what a successful career could lead to is a driving factor. Being able to provide for his family is one of Victor’s top priorities. For that reason, he’s in this for the long haul.
“It could change my life a lot. And not just my life, but my mom’s, as well, and I’m excited to see how much success I have here and how much it could change it.”
With his priorities in check and a prepared mindset, the 31-year-old has an optimistic outlook on his upcoming bout against Jordan Leavitt.
“Fighting wise, I know he likes to grapple; I know that fight is going to be a sticky fight and he’s going to want to be on me all the time and grabbing me and stuff. I’ve had a lot of opponents who try to fight me in that style over the years and I train with some of the best grapplers, too, so I’m confident in this fight.”
For the opportunity to finally arrive for Martinez is a rewarding, but humbling, feeling. He understands that taking it for granted is not an option because, for most, it stays a mere dream, and for the lucky few, it becomes reality.
“Ah man, it would mean the world, it would be the best feeling, I’m sure, to win your debut, I’m looking forward to that feeling.”
UFC Fight Night: Muniz vs Allen took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 25, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!