Coming off a 2018 where he picked up three wins in three fights, bantamweight Leomana Martinez was looking to keep his momentum going in 2019, but things didn’t work out as he hoped.
Martinez ended up spending most of 2019 on the shelf, but he did manage to pick up a win in November over David Rivera at Fury FC 39, his fifth victory in a row.
“It had been a whole year since I fought, so it was awesome to get back in there,” Martinez told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a great win overall.
“(The time off) made me miss the game more than I already had. In that time I could have had one, two, more fights, which could have taken me to the next level even quicker. But everything happens for a reason, and it is what it is. It helped push me and help excel to the next level.”
Entering his fourth year as a pro, Martinez feels like he’s only just scratched the surface of his potential, and is eager to showcase what he’s capable of in 2020.
“I haven’t quite gotten to show off all my skillset, because I’ve finished off fights quickly,” said Martinez. “I feel like each fight everybody’s going to see a growing skillset of mine, and something they haven’t seen before.
“I feel like I’m evolving and I’m not the same fighter each fighter – I’m better – whether it’s striking, wrestling, anything.”
On Friday in Houston, Texas, Martinez (6-1) will look to defend his title when he faces Peter Caballero (7-4) in the 135-pound championship main event of Fury FC 43.
“From what I understand he’s a decent wrestler, had a few fights, and is a tough guy,” Martinez said of Caballero. “I know I’m a finisher, so I’m going to go out there and whether it’s the first round or early second round I’m going to stop him and get another TKO victory under my belt.”
While Martinez likes to be deliberate in his career path, he does acknowledge that this is the year he’s looking to make his move to the next level.
“I’m not looking past this fight, but I also know that big call is coming soon,” said Martinez. “This win here will help put me on the map. Whether it’s a call to (Dana White’s) Contender Series or a call straight up to the UFC, I’ll be ready for any chance I get.”