UFC Minneapolis: Anthony Rocco Martin’s Slow Rise to the Top

Anthony Rocco Martin UFC
Anthony Rocco Martin Credit: Mike Straus/Cageside Press

Anthony Rocco Martin had a slow start to his UFC career, but he comes into UFC Minneapolis on a four-fight win streak since moving to welterweight.

Back in 2014, when Anthony Rocco Martin started his UFC career, he was undefeated and as it is with undefeated fighters, he had a lot of expectations around him. Unfortunately, with these expectations comes the burden to deliver. So when he lost two fights in a row, most hardcore fans lost interest in him.

Thus, he began his slow journey back to the top. He managed to not get axed from the company by securing a win over Fabrício Camões, however, that glory was exceptionally short-lived as he lost to Leonardo Santos in his next fight. This was followed by a strong three-fight winning streak which saw him gain a lot of momentum. When it finally looked as if he was ready to find his place in the division, he ended up on the receiving end of a split decision at the hands of Olivier Aubin-Mercier. This loss again threw him back and would force him to restart his journey.

At this point, many critiques assumed that Martin would not be a force in the division for some time now. However, a move to welterweight turned things around for the BJJ black belt. He secured three straight wins with one of the wins being a highlight knockout of Ryan LaFlare at the insane McGregor-Khabib card. This was followed by another strong win the early months of 2019 over Sérgio Moraes which extended his winning streak to 4.

This streak has got him the attention he needed to secure a strong match-up, which he got in the form of a clash against division legend and former title challenger Demian Maia. Maia who himself enters the fight after bouncing back from a career low of a three-fight losing streak is looking to secure up wins over rising contenders like Martin. This should be an interesting test for Martin who, with a win, might even prove that he belongs at the top

UFC Minneapolis will be live on ESPN in the USA, TSN 5 in Canada, and Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD in India on June 29.