I caught up with Tony Martin at PFL 1, he discussed his desire to get back in the cage as soon as possible, Kayla Harrison’s (his girlfriend) training camp for her pro debut and how he’d like to get back into the cage as soon as possible.
Harrison also joined the interview to discuss Martin’s career and their take over of the MMA world.
How has the hot streak felt especially when your career didn’t start off the way you imagined it?
Tony Martin: “I feel good, the move up to 170 I think is going to be very good for me, waiting for the next few fights, trying to get right back in there and keep the momentum going.”
When would you like to fight again?
Martin: “I tried to get in there right away when that Neil Magny fight fell off. When Gunnar Nelson got hurt I tried jumping on that on four weeks. They said no and they just gave him some random guy which made no sense to me. It sounds like they are trying to get me to fight Ryan LaFlare, but I know he’s been beat up a little bit. They say he might not be ready till late August/September. Ideally I want to fight before then but if I gotta to wait I have to wait.”
Any other names in mind?
Martin: “Honestly, I’m just trying to fight, I don’t care who it is, I just want to keep the momentum going. I don’t want to be sitting around five/six months waiting between fights when I’m healthy, training and I’m ready to fight.”
How proud of you are Kayla and have you been involved in her training?
Martin: “She’s is a freak, her biggest asset is her work ethic. She refuses to take days off, she refuses to skip training sessions, it’s a mental thing. Mostly when you’re first coming in, training is very difficult on the body, mentally, everything and she just pushes through everything and she wants to be the best, everyday her goal is to be the best that day. She could be going against world class guys even, she might lose at some and she’s furious and listen, you can take a couple steps back but she refuses to be second to anyone and that’s a special trait.”
Has it been a struggle for you balancing the relationship in the gym and outside of the gym?
Martin: “It’s definitely a new experience but I mean I want the best for her inside and outside of the cage and everything she does, whatever she does. I’m very supportive.”
If you notice a mistake or something you’d do differently, do you say something or do you let the coaches handle it?
Martin: “Most of the time I let the coaches do the coaching, Mike Brown down at ATT is one of the best coaches out there and they got all these other coaches around here. That’s been the one thing, I’m very opinionated, so, I had to try and be like I’m going to try and let her…obvisoly though if I see something blatant, or she’ll come back after training and she knows I want to say something she’ll ask me. I just wait for her to ask me now, mostly when she’s in the middle of training I’ll stay away now. I like to stay away from that now, but I’ll definitely help her out, I’ve been around a lot longer than she has in mixed martial arts.”
“I’m a very big student of the game as well, I love watching fights, I watch every one. I like the intracite details of fighting as well. I try to help her as much as possible but I also know that ATT has the best coaches in the world and I’ll let them do their job.”
Has she corrected you on anything yet?
Martin: “She hasn’t corrected me but she is very opinionated as well. She tries to tell me I need to do something. She’s more very judo oriented and thinks I should use judo more in my game as well. Which, I’m lanky and I definitely should and she has a lot to teach me in that area. But for now, it’s more I’m teaching her.”
Side note, Harrison now joins the interview.
How do you think her performance will go and what do you expect out of her? And do you feel more pressure answering that now that she is here?
Martin: “I fully expect her to run this girl over. She’s not the same athlete, she’s not the same discipline, she’s not categorically at the same level at anything with Kayla.”
“There is a lot of pressure on Kayla, because she is expected to go out and dominate the girl. The girl has a lot more MMA experience but obviously Kayla has been around athletics her whole life so it should be a pretty clean cut easy night.”
Any message for the welterweight division?
Martin: “I’m here and I’m coming.”
Harrison: “Get ready.”
Martin: “That’s right.”
Do you want to comment on his career?
Harrison: “Yea. I think he just needs to be given an opportunity. He’s proven himself time and time again. I feel like If just this much opens up he’s going to take over.”
“I’m excited for it, we’re going to be unstoppable, it’s going to be good.”