CONROE, TX, April 6, 2012 – When it comes to fighters making their MMA debut, Chad Martin is no ordinary rookie. He’ll be stepping into the cage for the very first time April 14th at the Legacy Amateur Series but the truth of the matter is that he’s been around the sport for a very long time. We’re not just talking about watching it on TV and getting hooked the first time he rented a UFC tape and saw Teila Tuli’s tooth flying across the cage at UFC 1 either.
Aside from that, he’s had the privilege of growing up and training with some of best fighters Texas has ever had to offer.
“I started out when I walked into Yves Edwards’ 3rd Column gym as a scrawny keyboard warrior,” he says about those early teenage years. Living next door to the Texas MMA pioneer had its privileges. Chad was able to strike up a close friendship with him and was even counted as his protégé of sorts. Aside from Yves, was able to train with high-level fighters like Carlo Prater and Tim Credeur at 3rd Column. Not a bad introduction to the sport at all.
Eventually though, life’s priorities always take center stage for everyone.
As Yves, Carlo, and Tim would keep working to distinguish themselves on the sport’s biggest stage, the UFC, Chad would also seek to make his own way in life by moving to Mount Vernon, Iowa to attain his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Before he knew it he was out of training for 3 years and some change. He’s happy with the direction he took but also states that he was pissed at himself because he never trained or tried out for their wrestling team while he was at school.
Moving back to Houston after graduation, Chad has gone on to the working world. But getting back to his hometown also allowed him to reconnect with another old friend in Todd Moore, himself a Strikeforce and Legacy veteran. It also allowed him to get back into the sport he loved. He’s been training at Gracie Barra The Woodlands ever since with Moore and another of his old friends from the Thugjitsu days in striking coach “Irish Muay Thai” Chase Corley. Working with teammates and local fighters like vets Alex Morono, Charles Lloyd, Ricky Turcios, and Kody Williams, it was only a matter of time before Chad caught the bug and wanted to step into the cage himself.
We spoke to him further about his journey and get his perspective on his upcoming fight at Houston’s House of Blues next Saturday (April 14th) at Legacy Amateur Series 8.
Interview – Chad Martin (Gracie Barra The Woodlands)
Chad, tell us about your earliest memories following combat sports. When did you get into this stuff?
I got into fighting watching Sugar Shane Mosley in his early pro days before he ruled the lightweight division with an iron fist and then moved up to welterweight to dethrone the golden boy Oscar de la Hoya! My favorite Mosley fight would be his first fight with Oscar, he was an underdog and beat him cleanly in an exciting fight. I was very happy to see the first fighter that I really followed go from prospect to pound for pound king.
In MMA my favorite fighter would obviously have to be my BFF Yves Edwards and for him my favorite fight would be that one where he headkicked that guy in the head while flying through the air.
Tell us about your life now outside of training.
After graduating college I got a job with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, I work around 50 hours a week there and when I get done with work and training I like to read. I just got through a roman history faze (Spartacus slave rebellion, Julius Caesar stuff) and now I am into the Song of Ice and Fire Series. Game of Thrones baby!
I just finished up the fourth book myself. Great choice in series! Aside from school and family, tell us more about what’s made you who you are as a person/fighter and why you’ve decided to step into the cage?
I think I have taken a much different path to my MMA debut than just about anyone else. I started out as a young Thugjitsu protege but whether it was age restrictions, staph infections, or having to get my grades up to graduate high school, I never had an MMA fight. It’s not often you get a second chance to make a first impression but that’s exactly what I get to do on April 14th! I think my time away from training and time in school completing my degree has made me never take this sport for granted again. I had the opportunity to do a lot of things in this sport from a young age…. but I could’ve done a whole lot more. And that’s what drives me to train and now to compete and have my opportunity to get a sweet highlight reel like all the guys I’ve trained with leading up to this fight.
Do you hope to take this ambition any further than this initial fight?
Short term I just hope to make it to the cage on April 14th and get the win in a fashion that the crowd will approve of. As far as long term I just want to keep getting better as a Martial Artist and in my career outside the gym. Make money and get some highlight reel moments of my own… If I do well in both things, success will come (along with hot South American women)…
So how are you feeling heading into next week?
Heading into the fight I am confident. I have been beaten up in too many different ways in my journey throughout this sport by too many high level guys to be nervous about a fight. I don’t like dieting so much but after I get the victory over my opponent I plan on working over Fogo De Chao!
Anything specific you’ve worked on in camp?
I haven’t trained to deal with one thing specifically because my opponent is also making his debut so it’s really a mystery waiting to be solved, how he’s gonna come out and fight. I have a lot of talented 170 pounders in my gym like Alex, Charles, Todd, and Tyler Flores which has really helped me for this fight since I am a 170 pounder myself. Alex Morono has really taken me under his wing and made time to train with me throughout this camp. Due to my day job I have to work around my hours but he’s never hesitant to get up early for some good ole fashioned white collar MMA training!
Tell us about your opponent. How much do you know about him and how do you plan on beating him?
My opponent’s name is John Villalobos. He comes from Mccall’s MMA and I have been training under the assumption that he is a very tough guy who wants to beat the crap out of me. This fight can end in one of several ways: Judges’ decision, referee stoppage, doctor stoppage, submission, or if he plays a bit too rough, disqualification!
Any last words for John before you guys try and knock the crap out of each other?
My orthodontist did a very good job crafting this smile. Aesthetically, other than my amazing bone structure it’s the best thing I’ve got going for me. Please do not damage my teeth or you will have Dr Leiker to contend with after the fight!
<laughs> Anything else you’d like to add Chad?
I would like to thank my mentor and hetero life partner Yves Edwards for still being there to this day to give me advice on being awesome. I’d like to thank my mom and brother for putting with me throughout this camp as well, I can be a bit irritable on a diet! I would also like to thank all of my wonderful training partners at Gracie Barra The Woodlands and Magnolia for all of their help getting me ready. And Truth Fightwear for some sweet shorts to wear to the fight! Thanks for the interview TXMMA!