Alex Martinez is preparing for the biggest fight and biggest stage of his career.
Canada’s Martinez (8-0) is set to take on former UFC champion Anthony Pettis (24-11), which goes down June 10 in Atlantic City, NJ in the main event of 2021 PFL 4. This is a PFL lightweight clash with high stakes for the remainder of the 2021 season. Martinez was born in Paraguay, but the 27-year-old fights out of Grande Prairie, Alta.
Martinez was initially eyeing the UFC during their run of Abu Dhabi shows, but certain visa hurdles proved to be an issue and boredom in Grande Prairie caused him to go on a bit of a vacation and training journey with his wife.
Circumstances fell into place thereafter and a relatively last-minute offer to step into the PFL bubble was something Martinez capitalized on.
Martinez’s upcoming opponent, Pettis, is someone he was looking to compete against and is an individual he has been inspired by for years.
“We were actually aiming for him to be honest, that’s the thing. I think everybody was really aiming for him, but we actually asked for this fight. My coaches wanted this fight, and they were like, ‘Alex, we’re going to take this fight. This fight is going to be ours.’ And it turned out the way we wanted, which is awesome. Of course, you know he’s a big name. He is a big fighter and he is a great fighter, so we never really looked down on him, a lot of respect to him,” said Martinez in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I used to look up to him when he used to fight coming up into the rankings to become the champion for the UFC and when he was back in the WEC. And just him being a taekwondo fighter, for me, that used to be a big inspiration. Look at that, you know there’s somebody actually doing good that does taekwondo, so, for me, it was a big thing. And now to be fighting him, it’s amazing you know. I love that.”
Martinez has yet to taste defeat as a professional, but did endure the losing feeling four times in his long 15-4 amateur career.
The prior lessons learned from his aforementioned amateur loss do little to quell the tremendous self-imposed pressure to perform, though.
“There’s always the fear of losing. For me, I fear a lot more about losing than anything else. I’m not scared of getting hurt. Of course, I don’t like pain, nobody likes pain… I already had pain before and I have overcome all of this. There’s no problem there in that sense. I’m not scared of the person in front of me. For me, always my biggest fear is myself. I’m always scared that I’m not going to do the right job or I’m not going to perform to the highest that I can. I’m a high achiever,” said Martinez.
“I always try to go and do the best I can with what I got. For example, my last fight I was very disappointed with myself and it wasn’t because I thought that I lost or anything. It was because I knew I could have given more. My biggest fear is always going out there and knowing that I have some left in the tank. So, right now for me for this fight my biggest fear, to be honest, doesn’t really come down so much about ‘I don’t want to lose.’ It’s not so much of that, there is always that fear, of course, because like I said I’m a high achiever. But for me it really comes down to making sure that I give my 100 per cent.”
Although each time he steps in the cage there’s another man standing across from him, Martinez said the opponent is not the biggest test he faces each time.
He said the toughest battle is the one he faces against himself.
“My opponents are just to push me and to make sure that I don’t quit, but at the end of the day it’s me against me and that’s all I can do. So, that’s all that really worries me. I have to defeat myself before I get in the cage,” said Martinez.
“Now, if I don’t do that, then that’s when troubles come in. That’s when I have issues like I said my last fight. It did not go how I wanted it to go. I know I could have given more, I know I could have done more, it is what it is. We’re here now, so we’re not dwelling on the past, just moving on to the future. We’re excited for it.”
Although typically a regular at Champion Gym in Grande Prairie for training camps, Martinez took his efforts to Las Vegas this time around.
He has been getting in working over at Syndicate MMA and it seems to be a great fit for the rising fighter.
“John Wood, he took care of me very well. I also know Jo Jo, Joanne Calderwood, for awhile because we met each other in Tristar, then she ended up moving to Syndicate. I’ve been (to) Syndicate for five weeks now, so that was my first time I’ve been here and I loved it so much.”
“Actually, before I came into PFL, I went down to Victoria, B.C. and trained down with Adam Zugec for about a week or two weeks. He actually told me ‘hey, Alex. You should go down to Syndicate. I think they would be a great team for you, and you should go check it out and see what’s going on.'”
“I just want to thank everybody who has supported me so far and I’m going to show how thankful I am when I fight in the cage, so that’s the best way to thank them, just give my all in the cage. I’m ready, I’m focused, so we’re going to give it.” Follow Martinez on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM