Victor Martinez: Getting Firefighting Job Relieved Pressure on UFC Career

Victor Martinez recently highlighted the importance of a stable job for fighters.

While Martinez has been a licensed firefighter since 2018, he never applied for a job, prioritizing his goal of getting into the Ultimate Fighting Championship. “The Brick” finally earned his ticket to the big league with a unanimous decision win over Jacob Rosales on Dana White’s Contender Series in September 2021. Martinez then got hired by the Hidalgo Fire Department after his UFC debut in February 2023, and the 32-year-old feels things are falling into place for him.

“Man, I had my firefighter license since back in 2018 but I just wanted to focus on getting into the UFC first before getting a job,” Martinez told The AllStar. “So I was just renewing my license every year and I got signed to the UFC [in] 2021 after Contender [Series]. And I was like, ‘OK, I already made this goal happen, let me try getting a job somewhere else, so I started applying in different cities and Hidalgo Fire Department picked me up. And yeah, well I mean everything kind of fell into place.”

Martinez suffered a first-round TKO loss against Jordan Leavitt in his promotional debut. He was then booked for a clash against Trevor Peek at UFC on ABC 5 in June 2023 but pulled out due to undisclosed reasons. Martinez later revealed that his coach advised him to pull out, as he was in the middle of his firefighter job hunt and also battling a knee injury.

“After my first UFC fight I was trying to get hired somewhere as a firefighter and my coach was like, ‘Let’s not move too quickly, let’s take a little break, focus on what you gotta do, keep training, keep getting ready and then we’ll get you something later on down the line instead of rushing it.’ So, he ended up pulling me,” Martinez said.”I was getting ready for that as well. I had a little injury in my knee as well so training also kind of flared it back up.”

Martinez also detailed how a stable job has helped him as a fighter. “The Brick” was admittedly obsessed with the paycheck going into his UFC debut and believes it affected his performance. Imparting private lessons at gyms to get by, Martinez had even stopped enjoying training.

However, the job has taken a large load off the Texan's back as he prepares for his sophomore UFC outing. Martinez will look for his first promotional win against fellow newcomer Tom Nolan at UFC Fight Night 241 on May 18.

“I felt every fight before I got this firefighter job, like in the Contender Series, I felt lot of pressure,” he said. “And going into my first UFC fight I felt even more pressure on that one, because I felt like, ‘Man I can’t blow this, it’s my first UFC fight.’ And I didn’t have a stable job, I was working at gyms doing privates in there, just trying to make some cash. And I had a lot of pressure on myself like, ‘Man I gotta win this fight, I gotta make this money.’... I wasn’t enjoying training as much, I was kind of just like, ‘Man I’m broke, I gotta win this next fight, I gotta make it happen, so I can get this cash and I can be OK for a while.’ And my main thing is my mom, I’m always trying to help her out, that’s been my main goal always… And like I said, all that build up it just made me freeze up in the fight. Going into this next one, now that I have this job and I’m more stable, I don’t have to worry about all that. I’ve actually been enjoying training; I actually like going to training now.”

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