Louisiana’s Justin Martin decided to be a MMA fighter after watching Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie

There is a moment when you fell in love with the sport of mixed martial arts and for a lot fans, the signature moment is the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 1 when Forrest Griffin defeated Stephan Bonnar.

Photo via Martin's Facebook
Photo via Martin’s Facebook

When it comes to fighters, sometimes they are introduced to the sport by their friends, but Justin Martin’s (6-1) introduction to the sport came from seeing Matt Hughes facing Royce Gracie in 2006.

“It all started back in high school, we use to all get together and fight after school,” Martin told The MMA Report. “We just had boxing gloves and there was not really any rules. If somebody quit or somebody got knocked out. I loved it. I could not wait to get out of school and fight people. It was kind of like a little fight club.”

“I really did not chase anything after that. I went on to college and it [MMA] got big. I saw UFC — I don’t remember the number but Matt Hughes was fighting Royce Gracie and I am a country boy. I saw Matt Hughes and I ended up watching that PPV. I was like man, I got to get into this.”

Martin (6-1) ended up walking into a mixed martial arts gym in Walker, Louisiana a couple of months after the Hughes/Gracie fight and was hooked on the sport immediately. Prior to stepping into a mixed martial arts gym, Martin explained how he came to the ultimate decision to become a mixed martial arts fighter.

“I had a New Year’s Resolution one year,” he said. “My wife, well at time she was my girlfriend and she kind of flipped out. We were sitting around a bonfire and she was like, what is your New Year’s Resolution? I was like, I want to fight. She was like, what kind of fight? I said I want to cage fight.”

Martin opened his career with six straight wins before being defeated last year. One of the major lessons that Martin leaned in that defeat is that he needed to slow down and work on his weaknesses.

“I would not say I lost, I would say I came in second place,” Martin explained. “It definitely made me a much — I found out what I needed to work on. It’s true. People tell you that you learn more from your losses than your wins. I kind of learned who I was and the weakness that I needed to work on. It was a gut check. Losing sucks.”

“I was setting up fights left and right. I really was not taking into consideration some of the things I needed to work on. I was just fighting and now, I was like now I have to hone in my skills and this level of competition is getting higher. I need to work on this thing. Every since then, the training has picked up. I have got with a new nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach. I feel like a new fighter every since that last fight.”

Martin will look to get back on the winning side of a fight next weekend in Mississippi as he meets Omar Johnson. When Martin was asked why he will win the fight, he was quick to his point, he is a better fighter than Johnson.

“I am a better fighter. He is big and explosive. He is going to be a really tough opponent but I have a better skill set than him. In the end, he is tough but I am tougher.”