Houston TX - Martin Pineda, Fury MMA Champion, is taking the Texas regional scene by storm. Pineda is currently undefeated and the #2 ranked Heavyweight & #2 ranked Light-Heavyweight in the state. His next bout however, scheduled for February 18th 2024 in Houston, is at Middleweight. With all 4 of his wins coming by way of stoppage, momentum is on the side of the Darkside fighter. We sat down with Pineda ahead of his upcoming fight to find out about his training, his life as a new dad, and the practical use of Jiu Jitsu competition as an aspiring pro fighter. Check it out!
Q: You're in a unique position as champion. Do you reach out to Fury and say that you want a fight as they announce cards, or do they tell you when it's time to defend?
A: I called my shot 2 fights ago. I won the fight and called for the 205 fight and said "That's just the first belt. I'm going down to 185 and I'm taking that belt too." So that was always the plan. I won the 205 belt back in August and I had to take some time off with a brand new baby. I let Fury know, I was still on my way down to 185. I had already asked them prior, even before winning at 205, if I could go down to 185 and fight. Actually, since the beginning of 2023 I wanted to move down but they kept giving me 205 match ups. I had gotten the 205 belt and told them "I'm still planning to go down to 185, maybe even 170."
Q: You're 4-0 right now, is your plan to transition into a Pro career when you hit a goal weight?
A: Yes that is the goal. I'm just using my Amatuer career really to drop the weight and get comfortable at new divisions. This is going to be my first time down at 185, but I plan to be even more comfortable than I was at 205. This is the quickest, leanest I've ever been. So the plan is to get to 5-0 and then maybe go pro at 170, probably 185 and then 170. I do plan on going pro next.
Q: Talk me through your weight cuts. A lot of fighters do that yo-yo thing, where they walk at 170 but fight at 145 and fight night they're back up to 170. Trying to steadily come down in weight for you, that's probably not the case right?
A: Yeah not the case. When I was at 205 I would have to eat extra to keep the weight on and stay on the heavier side. I walk around at 220 maybe? That's when I'm at my heaviest. In camp, I get to about 210 pretty naturally. Then I cut maybe 5-7 pounds to make 205. 185 is going to be a bigger cut but I don't expect it to be too crazy. I'll get to 200 about a month out. Get even lighter and then cut the rest.
Q: You're fighting really frequently, you're a pretty active grappler, and like you said: you're a new dad and have a lady at home. How do you manage all that?
A: I'm not going to lie, it gets hard. I'm a first time dad, so I don't have too much experience with this but the 4 months I do have I will say it's long days man. I get up at 5:00am get my strength and conditioning work in until about 6:30am. I work 7:00am-3:30pm at my regular job. After that, I come coach here at The Empire, that's my second job. Then I get my training in after that from 7:00pm-9:00pm. I do some Striking and Jiu-Jitsu. Then I come home and go be with the baby, put him to bed, and get my rest in. My girl man, my girl helps out alot. She's got a job that's really flexible, she works from home and takes care of the baby. I kind of just take care of the dream right now, if you want to call it that. It's hard but I wouldn't want it any other way. It's fun, it's exciting. It gives me motivation.
Q: Well you have the results, you're not a SoundCloud rapper. You're 4-0, all finishes. You're out here actually making the dream real.
A: Yes sir. Soon to be 5-0.
Q: You're really active on the grappling scene for an MMA Fighter. Does that help you cut weight and prep for MMA, or because of the Leg Lock revolution, are they too disconnected at this point and almost 2 different sports?
A: No, they go hand in hand. When I took time off from fighting to be with the baby, I still trained regularly in Jiu-Jitsu at The Darkside. It's always there man. Even if I'm not getting ready for a competition, I'm always there. I'll stop in, get a good sweat in, and go back to my life. I'm always active though, even without a comp, I train Monday-Sunday.
Q: You've been pretty loyal to Fury up to this point, obviously you're their champion so they keep making offers, but what is it about them that you like as a fighter? Can you speak a little about Fury and what makes them stand out?
A: I think Fury is the best local promotion there is, at least down here in Texas. They're sending a lot of fighters to the UFC. Alot of fighters in the UFC started their amatuer careers with Fury. They're right there with the UFC. Also they're on UFC Fight Pass so we get a lot of views. They also work with me. I asked for some time off to take care of the baby and they were fine with that. It just feels like more of a team. They're trying to get me there and I'm trying to get there also so we're kind of in it together at this point.
Q: What's something you'd like to accomplish while you're still on the grind on the Regional level?
A: Man I'd like to be a 2 weight champion in the Pro divisions. I did it at amateur, a little bit chubbier at 205 but if I get going as a Pro... maybe 170 and 155 that would be ideal. If I do get the call to go to the UFC as a Pro it will be at 155 because those guys are huge.
Q: That's all I have for you but anything you'd like to say? Any shout outs?
A: Shout out to my team Victor at Darkside & Ken at Empire. Shout out to my sparring partners we bang everyday, so thank you to those guys. We're all putting in the grind together to get there. They're right here with me. Shout out to my team. My girl she is also part of the team and shout out to you guys. This is my first interview ever. So shout out to Combat Sports Report.