Ryan Martinez is arguably the best heavyweight fighter that you have never heard of.

Martinez is currently 6-1 in his professional career, with his biggest win coming in the first round of the ProElite heavyweight tournament over Mark Ellis.  As Martinez moves on to the semifinals of the tournament, he hopes to carry his current momentum to victory.

“For me, the ultimate goal is to get into the UFC, but that all starts with this tournament.  I have to continue to perform at my best and continue to get these victories to show the world and the UFC that I belong,” Martinez recently told The MMA Corner.


Martinez, who was a virtual unknown to the mainstream MMA fan, knows that he gained many new fans with his victory in the first round of the ProElite tournament, but he does not want his run to stop there.

“I plan on winning this tournament and showing the world that I belong here.  I have been wrestling and fighting my entire life and now I get the opportunity to show the world what I can do,” Martinez stated. “Going into my last fight, I was so relaxed that I knew I was going to win.

“When we were meeting with the doctors prior to the fight and they were taking fighters’ blood pressure and heart rate, I had the lowest out of anyone.  I was so relaxed for that fight.  When I fight at home, I have all the pressures of family and friends being around and being in attendance and having to do all these things for them before the fight, which would always take my focus off of my fight, but at the last fight I didn’t have any of that.  I had family and friends there, but I did not have to do all of the extra stuff, so I was able to stay relaxed and stay focused.”

Going into his fight with Ellis, Martinez was a significant underdog, with few people giving him a legitimate shot to defeat Ellis, let alone win the entire tournament.  Since that fight, things have changed drastically.  Martinez went from being the underdog, the dark horse in the tournament, to one of the current favorites.

“It was almost like this tournament was set up to showcase Ellis’ skills,” Martinez said.  “You know, he comes from American Kickboxing Academy and he was getting this big push.  I knew that I matched up very well against him and I knew that I was going to win the fight.  I have wrestled my entire life and we worked on all of that in training.  I knew that if he couldn’t take me down, he wouldn’t be able to out strike me on the feet.  I just did what we have worked on during practice and it was successful.

“I don’t know that I am that tournament favorite and I don’t think about that kind of stuff.  For me, the goal is to get into the UFC.  I have a great manager and management company now in Ricky Vasquez and Phenom Management, and as long as I keep doing the things I do, I know it will all work out. As far as being the favorite, if that is what the people out there think, that is cool, but I cannot think like that.  I have to stay focused on my current opponent and make sure that I do what I need to do to get this win and then move on from there.”

(April Pishna/MMA Weekly)

Martinez did defeat the man that many people felt was the tournament favorite, but that does not mean that there is no longer stiff competition left in this tournament.  In addition to Martinez, Cody Griffin, Richard Odoms and Jake Huen are still in contention and Martinez is set to face Griffin in the semifinals.

“Cody is a very tough opponent,” admitted Martinez. “We are all tough guys in this tournament and nobody is an easy victory.  If I do the things that we practiced in camp and stick to the plan of my coaches, then I should come away with the victory.  I am going to go out there and be me and fight my fight. If I do everything that I know I can, then I know I will be victorious.”

Martinez has come a very long way in a short period of time.  Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Martinez certainly has had a troubled past that has landed him on the wrong side of the law.  Martinez has made amends for his wrong doings and hopes that his new-found success in the MMA world can not only land him a job with the UFC, but can give him and his family a better life.

Martinez wanted to take the time to thank of all his sponsors for their continued support: Future Legend, TruMMA, Intimidation Fight Wear, Knock’m Out Fight Gear, 970 Fighter, Kolar Auto, One Stop Fitness, Infinite MMA.

Top Photo: Ryan Martinez battles Mark Ellis in the first round of the ProElite Heavyweight Tournament (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Josh Davis
President and Site Director

Josh Davis is the owner and President of The MMA Corner, LLC. He has been a fan of mixed martial arts since seeing UFC 1 in his hometown. In addition to his The MMA Corner responsibilities, Josh is the editor of Scrapp! Fight Magazine. Josh has also written for MMA Unleashed and MMA Sports magazines. Josh also manages some of Colorado's best up and coming fighters and is dedicated to the positive promotion of the sport.