No one wants to fight him. He may not be MMA royalty, but Martin Sano Jr. is having a tough time finding fights.
“I just turned 23, I’m 4-0 after turning pro at 20, but I don’t know why I don’t have more fights,” Sano said. “I’m used to fighting more, I guess a lot of guys want these easy fights, they see my fights on YouTube and call me back saying they don’t want to fight.”
Sano is not your average up-and-coming fighter. The native Californian has been called “Spartan” by UFC #1 ranked lightweight contender, Gilbert Melendez, and Sano trains with two of the best fighters in the world, Nick and Nate Diaz, at their gym Nick Diaz Gracie Fighter Academy in Lodi, California.
Born in Northern California, Sano moved to El Paso, Texas when he was 15. “My dad opened a business out there, so we moved, but I was always like, man I got to go back to California, that’s my home, but El Paso was a cool city, a big city.”
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TVMix: Was it hard making the transition from California to Texas?
Sano: El Paso was just different, I got in fights all the time in Texas, in the streets, defending my brother. My brother could defend himself, he’s a pro fighter now as well, but I was just being the big brother.
TVMix: How did you get into MMA?
Sano: I was pretty much a street fighter since I was in California, but then I was looking for an outlet not to get into trouble, that’s why i got in mixed martial arts. It helped me keep my composure.
TVMix: Where did you first train?
Sano: I started boxing when I was about 16, but didn’t start full MMA training ’til I was 18. I first started at Bushido MMA under Shane Schuman, who use to fight Muay Thai. He was an army ranger too, he showed me how to train how to diet how to get ready for a fight, he helped me out a lot.
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TVMix: What made you want to get into a cage and fight?
Sano: I played football in high school — defensive end. I guess I was good, but I kept getting into fights outside of school. One time I got into a fight right in front of the coach and he said, ‘Oh my gosh, you destroyed that guy,’ and I had never had training, but then I thought I didn’t want to do this the illegal way. That’s when I thought I’m kinda good at this fighting thing, I don’t need 10 other guys helping me out. I feel like I can do it myself.
As an amateur, Sano went 9-1 before turning pro at 20. “I wasn’t nervous, I was pretty much ready, had a lot of cage experience, I was ready to go and get that win.”
“No one wants to fight me,” Sano said. “My last fight was against Clint Roberts from Greg Jackson’s camp. He’s Carlos Condit and Donald Cerrone’s main training partner. They were expecting him to just run through me and destroy me and go to the UFC after that, but um, that didn’t happen. I beat him up the first round, then choked him out in the second. I mean, I train with two guys (Nick and Nate Diaz) that whipped both of their asses.”
TVMix: Why do you think no one at 170 or 185 wants to fight you?
Sano: A lot of people want to pad their record, they want the easy fight. I understand they want to save the bigger fights for bigger shows, but how are you going to get there if you don’t fight? I’m just ready to fight whoever, whenever. I’m ready to go to UFC, Bellator, ready to test myself. I was on national television in my last fight, the pressure doesn’t get to me.
Here’s Sano’s third fight.
TVMix: What are your goals in the sport?
Sano: I want to get to the guys at the top, it’ll probably be somebody different when I get there, but that’s my goal to get the championship, to get that strap, the gold and defend it. That’s what I want to do.
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TVMix: Lastly, you have some interesting tattoos, can you talk about some of them?
Sano: I think I was 15 when I got my first tattoo, got an in-house pen tattoo with 707 (Bay Area) but I got it covered up and redone. I have San Francisco Giants logo tattooed on my triceps, biomechanical on my left forearm, a machine type design, “BANG, BANG”on both my knuckles, that way during the staredown I can put it in my opponents face so they know what’s coming, “BEEF” tattoo so they know be ready for the fight and got an RIP to a friend who was killed at 19, with more to come…
You can follow Sano on Twitter @ifightordie or on Instagram at Spartan_Sano.
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