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Anthony Rocco Martin has looked phenomenal since moving up to welterweight, as he has scored impressive victories over Keita Nakamura, Ryan LaFlare and Jake Matthews. In his latest appearance, he will take on fellow submission specialist Sergio Moraes at UFC Fight Night 146 on Saturday in Wichita, Kansas.
As Martin makes final preparations for his clash with Moraes, here are five things you might not know about the American Top Team representative.
1. He was a no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion as a blue belt.
Martin has slick submission skills and cites the guillotine choke and kimura as his favorite maneuvers. He was a no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion when he was a blue belt. His grappling smarts have so far translated well into MMA, as he has nine submission wins to his credit, including a stunning anaconda choke on Jake Matthews and an inverted triangle choke on Kuchlong Kuchlong. In 2017, Martin earned his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
2. He can now eat whatever he wants during fight camp.
Martin previously fought at 155 pounds, where he had a difficult time cutting weight. However, since moving to welterweight, things have been easier for him. He is a firm believer that fighters should focus more on improving their skills, less on trying to make weight and competing in their natural weight class. There was a time during fight camp when Martin ate ice cream and candy, but he remained confident he could shed the extra pounds and checked in at 170.5 pounds at the official weigh-in.
3. He looks up to Georges St. Pierre.
Martin is not one to idolize others, but he does look up to an all-time great in St. Pierre. The Palos Heights, Illinois, native, became a GSP fan because of how dominant the Canadian was in all aspects of mixed martial arts. In particular, Martin admired St. Pierre’s timing and unpredictability inside the cage.
4. He used to be a carpet cleaner.
Before displaying his talent inside the cage, Martin was a carpet cleaner in St. Cloud, Minnesota. While he valued the job, he could not be any happier that he found MMA. Martin started training in January 2011 upon the invitation of a friend. Like many greenhorns entering the gym for the first time, he had the mindset of the toughest man alive, only to be submitted multiple times by a 125-pounder. Needless to say, Martin got hooked and stayed with it.
5. His aunt gave him a career-changing health advice.
Before finding his way into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Martin knew there was something wrong with his health. He was always tired, and it reached a critical point in his match with Beneil Dariush. Martin felt some chest pain and initially thought it was severe heartburn. After that fight, his aunt told him that acid reflux runs in their family and recommended medication. Martin heeded the advice and has been taking it ever since.