UFC Atlantic City’s Tony Martin: “I still have nightmares about weight cutting.”

UFC Atlantic City Tony Martin
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

We spoke with Tony Martin, who will be starting a new chapter in his career at UFC Atlantic City.

Longtime UFC lightweight Tony Martin has decided it’s time to move up a weight class and compete at a more natural size of 170-pounds. He’ll be taking on Keita Nakamura at UFC Atlantic City in late April.

Despite having a winning record (4-3) in the premier mixed martial arts promotion on the planet, Martin has decided the baggage and stress that comes with massive and sudden weight loss is no longer worth it. The seemingly instantaneous success that Rafael dos Anjos has had in the welterweight division has led more and more fighters to test the waters at a more natural weight.

Cageside Press spoke with Martin regarding the move up in weight, his decision to start training at ATT, and more.

For some fighters the fight is the easy part, the weight cut is the real fight. For others like Martin, it’s the way your body response post-cut. “My body was going through chaos,” said Martin regarding his cuts to 155-pounds.

“It’s rough. If I’m walking around at ’95 (195-pounds) that’s 40 pounds right there that I have to cut, I can do it if I give my body like six months to come back to normal, but my body would just balloon up, I’d get up to 205 pounds.”

The last time we saw Martin, he was on the wrong end of a close split decision loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier. With the loss provoking a move to welterweight, one has to assume weight was a factor in the loss.

“I took that fight five weeks out. I liked the matchup, but I was 195 pounds, so I needed to cut 40 pounds. It was absolutely brutal and I still have nightmares about that.”

The weight class isn’t the only significant change in Martin’s fight regimen, he has taken his talents to South Beach.

“I moved down to ATT now,” said Martin. “Every day I’m down here with the best guys, the best fighters in the world. If I’m being honest, I needed to work on my wrestling, my chain wrestling, and I’ve already wrestled more here than I have the last three and a half years.”

American Top Team has opened their doors to several athletes and the gurus there have helped take nearly all of them to the next level. But the organization has to be on board with all these changes to make them a reality.

“It’s funny,” says Martin as he snickers. “As soon as we notified the UFC that I was going to 170, [the UFC] came back and offered me Jim Miller at 155. Dude’s a legend. He’s got 20-something fights in the UFC. I almost took the fight on principle.”

Instead we get Tony Martin vs. Keita Nakamura at UFC Atlantic City on April 21, not a bad consolation. Regardless of where this Chicago-born fighter puts his camps in, he is sure of one thing:

“You will see a better version of me on fight night, I promise.”