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Tony Martin says he's staying at 170 pounds after UFC Atlantic City – thanks to Mike Brown

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – There were moments in Tony Martin’s move up to 170 pounds this past Saturday that he wanted to just go a little crazy and get a highlight-reel finish.

Then he had to pull back a little and listen to his new coaches from American Top Team, including former WEC champion Mike Brown. Martin (13-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) was cruising against Keita Nakamura (33-9-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to open UFC Fight Night 128 and thought he might be able to get a finish rather than a lopsided unanimous decision, which is what he got – a trio of 30-27 scores.

“I was definitely wanting to take him out – I wanted my first KO,” Martin told MMAjunkie after the fight. “I feel like I hurt him a few times, and I went to jump on him a little bit. The coaches were like, ‘Let’s just calm down here’ – it’s my first fight at 170, and they didn’t know how I’d fully react to having more weight and just the difference of everything. I think they wanted to see how it played out without rushing in for the kill. I was dominating.”

UFC Fight Night 128 took place Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The card aired on FS1 following an early prelim – Martin’s win over Nakamura – on UFC Fight Pass.

And that Fight Pass thing, that’s great. But Martin also is starting to wonder why nine fights into his UFC career, he’s a curtain-jerker. Prior to his move up to welterweight, he went 4-4 as a UFC lightweight. He dropped three of his first four with the promotion, but then won three straight before a split-decision loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier this past September halted his momentum.

But he said even heading into UFC Atlantic City, he wasn’t sure he’d go to welterweight for good. Initially, he said he took a fight with veteran lightweight Jim Miller until Brown called no joy.

“Mike Brown was like, ‘Listen, you’re in here training with the best 170-pounders in the world. You’re not fighting at ’55 anymore,’” Martin said.

With the dominant win over Nakamura looking like a fresh start for Martin, he said his hope would be that the UFC matchmakers would treat him like it was a new beginning. But he knows that might not necessarily be the case.

“I wish the UFC would act like I haven’t fought a UFC fight and just act like, ‘Listen, this is his first fight in the UFC,’” he said. “Obviously, that’s probably not going to happen. But I saw (matchmaker) Sean (Shelby) and I told him, ‘Listen, I want a killer. I want someone who’s going to try to take me out, and let’s see really where I’m at.’ I don’t want easy fights. That was my ninth UFC fight. I’m one of the quietest ones – it’s my ninth fight in the UFC, and I’m the first fight on the card.”

What kind of killer? How about Mike Perry, Martin said? Perry just lost for a second straight time, but is booked to fight Yancy Medieros at UFC 226 in late July.

So knowing that probably won’t happen, his one request seems to be just give him the kind of opponent that can send him up the 170-pound rankings quickly and give him a test.

“Honestly, I just want big, tough guys. I don’t care who it is.”

For more from Martin, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 128, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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