Following a 10-month layoff, bantamweight Leomana Martinez returned to fighting last October in a losing effort to Drako Rodriguez at Dana White’s Contender Series.
The loss capped off a year that did not turn out how Martinez would have hoped. So now that he’s getting ready to fight again for the first time since then, he’s looking to turn a new leaf in 2021.
“2020, going into it, I thought it was going to be my year, but it didn’t quite end up how I wanted, unfortunately,” Martinez told MMAWeekly.com. “With the coronavirus, everything was pretty crazy. Starting with this upcoming fight, I think it’s going to be better times for me.”
Coming to terms with the devastation the coronavirus pandemic has caused, Martinez has intensified his efforts to make sure he makes the most of his opportunities going forward.
“After that last fight, I definitely saw a change in myself,” said Martinez. “I realized that life could be short with this whole pandemic and everything. I picked it up a couple of gears and trained even harder than I already was.
“I look to get better day in and day out, but I’m just looking to get wins. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to fall back on what I did last year. I just want to focus on winning and get back in that win column, and just continue to win and better myself.”
On Saturday in Houston, Martinez (6-2) will look to defend his title when he faces Casey Jones (7-4) in the bantamweight championship co-main event of Fury FC 44.
“Knowing that I’ve already fought him before and beat him nothing is going to change. I’m going to go in there and fight my fight,” Martinez said of Jones. “Whether it’s offensive play, defensive play, I’m looking to go in there to finish him and get my hand raised.”
For Martinez, 2021 is the start of a push to get his career as far along as possible in a short time, beginning with his bout on Saturday.
“Since the beginning of this year and once I have known about this fight, my foot has been on the gas the entire time,” said Martinez.
“I told my manager that if I come out of this fight injury-free, I’m ready to go next week or the following week; get me back in the cage as soon as possible. I’m looking to rack up as many wins as I can to get me to where I want to be.”