"Minakov is a well decorated fighter. He is 11-0 and you don't rack up that many wins, with no defeats, being a slouch. But then again, I don't know who he has fought. I haven't seen any fights of his and honestly, I don't really care because all of us are undefeated when we first start. Usually when you're undefeated, you have a big scope on your back. It's a lot of pressure to keep that streak going. Me, I have had a couple of losses. I got TKOED once. The ref stopped the fight because I got a cut on my eye and then I have a split decision loss to a hometown kid, so either way, it don't matter to me. I'm going out there to bang. Every fight, I was brought in for somebody to beat me, and that's cool because I fight better when I'm not supposed to win. That's what makes me win," stated Bellator heavyweight Ryan Martinez, who talked about his recent win, his future plans, working with King Mo, Roy Nelson, and Jeff Mayweather, and much more. Check it out!
PC: Congratulations on the first round knockout win over Rich Hale at Bellator 96. It seems like you don't like the second round much.
RM: (Laughing) I don't even know if my cardio would have made it past the second round.
PC: So the commentators were being funny when they were saying they hadn't seen you in such good shape before.
RM: Dude, I told the commentators that I wasn't in good shape and that I was in shape to make it through a round. I got Roy and Mo through their camp, but I wasn't in shape for my own camp. And they were like, "Oh well, he says he's in shape." They were kind of clowning on me because I was holding a lot of weight. They weren't congratulating me for being in shape; they were definitely talking shit.
PC: Hale is a tall guy with a long reach. What was the game plan going in to close that distance?
RM: Honestly, to tell you the truth, I had no game plan. My thing was to counter strike him. There were always talks about him being a fast heavyweight because he was a 205-pounder, so I was trying to time his speed. I was letting him flick his jab out and the dude ain't fast compared to the dudes I train with. It was all timing; letting him jab and seeing what I can do to get in. I was hoping I could lay my hands on him standing up so I could knock his ass out, but he wasn't really trying to engage with me. He was trying to keep me at a distance. So as soon as he started circling to my right, I threw a hook to cut the ring on him and got the body lock on him and took him down.
PC: You and King Mo train together, obviously, and you both got similar knockouts as far as passing the legs and punching. I think I would prefer Mo to be hitting me because he showed some compassion. You showed none my man (laughing).
RM: (Laughing) I hit him and looked at the ref and the ref didn't stop it because after the first hit, I seen his eyes roll back. I kind of glanced at the ref and he didn't cut in, so I was like, "Fuck it! I will make the ref pull me off." So I just kept hitting him and hitting him. Honestly, to tell the truth, there was a lot of speculation about his ground game. He tapped out guys with an inverted triangle and whatnot, but what people don't realize is I got my Purple Belt from Royce Gracie. I was training with him before moving out here to Vegas. One of the things we work on in the gym, me, Mo and Roy, is you only hold position if you're going to rest. Other than that, you should be working and working to finish. Soon as we hit the mat, I fell in side control. I felt him trying to come over the top. I thought he was going for an omoplata or an armbar, so I just started pulling my arm through and I stood up and his knee was blocking my leg like he was trying to scissor sweep. So what I did was I got ankle control, but me being as short as I am and as thick as I am, even when my chin back, he's gonna kick me in the face no matter what. He got a whole 6 inches on me. my whole thing from there was to look for an opening and I caught him with a left hand to the stomach; he kicked me with an upkick and I was going for a smash pass and I see that chin sticking straight out, so I hit him with a left hook and I just went off after that. Left, right, right and left, and that's all she wrote.
PC: Yeah, everything after the first shot was waking him up and putting him back out.
RM: I heard it broke his jaw in two places. I don't know, I didn't see him post-fight, but the rumor is he broke his jaw, so I hope he's all good.
PC: Being that if you win, you move on and you know exactly who you are going to face next, does that benefit you? Do you like this format?
RM: I like the fact that you are fighting every month. You win and you fight the next month. For us, we live off of our fighting, so you win in the first round and you win in the second round and you go to the third round and you have that income coming in each month and building a budget. Originally, I wasn't supposed to be in the summer series tournament. I was just going out there to corner Mo and they were gonna give me some money because they screwed me over for the summer series. But I kind of last minute hopped in and took the opportunity and now I'm ecstatic. I fight this month and then next month and that's a big blessing in itself. And to be fighting for a world title once I finish this series is just a big blessing, man.
PC: When you look at the brackets and your next opponent, Vitaly Minakov, how do you see yourself matching up?
RM: Minakov is a well decorated fighter. He is 11-0 and you don't rack up that many wins, with no defeats, being a slouch. But then again, I don't know who he has fought. I haven't seen any fights of his and honestly, I don't really care because all of us are undefeated when we first start. Usually when you're undefeated, you have a big scope on your back. It's a lot of pressure to keep that streak going. Me, I have had a couple of losses. I got TKOED once. The ref stopped the fight because I got a cut on my eye and then I have a split decision loss to a hometown kid, so either way, it don't matter to me. I'm going out there to bang. Every fight, I was brought in for somebody to beat me, and that's cool because I fight better when I'm not supposed to win. That's what makes me win. I see the haters say, "I can't wait to see Martinez get flattened. He's a fake ass Tito Ortiz." Motherfucker, I ain't Tito! I'm Ryan (laughing)!
PC: What are some of the things you work on in the gym with Jeff Mayweather, King Mo, and Roy Nelson?
RM: Honestly, these last couple of camps been crazy because usually I do a hardcore strength training cycle, like ropes, pushups, pull ups, and bench press, but we go so hard in the gym now, they told me not to lift no more weights. So I stopped lifting weights and with Jeff, all we work is speed. We don't work power. He feels with speed comes power. Honestly, I ain't trying to knock dudes out. It's just happening. That's just the way it is. I'm just trying to throw fast punches. I'm not out there trying to wing it and hopefully catch somebody. I think that's helped my game out a lot is just being more patient and not loading up with my punches. Wrestlers have that natural explosion in everything that they do, and I come from a wrestling background and Mo comes from a wrestling background, so it's not hard to generate power.
PC: What is it like training with Mo and Roy on a daily basis?
RM: You hear stories of great fighters coming out of great camps and I train with blah, blah, blah, and it's like 30 people that train at that gym, like Tri-Star. The only people that train with us is me, Mo, and Roy. We train with each other every day. We wrestle with each other 3 times a week and strike with each other 4 times a week. I don't bring in anybody special; it's just Mo and Roy and we go hard. If we spar, we will go somewhere else to spar with other people; that way we can kind of unload without feeling bad. But when it's us, we are working and we work hard and smart. Working with Mo, when me and Mo go at it, it's like a lesson for reactions. We try to catch and that type of stuff. But when we are all sparring, we go pretty hard. We not trying to knock each other out, but it feels like we are. We simulate the fight as much as possible. Some days, it's like fuck it; we will go all out.
PC: I appreciate the time. Hit me up anytime and we will speak before your next fight. Is there anything you want to add?
RM: I just want to thank God and all of my sponsors for sticking with me, man.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]