Gil Martinez Talks Couture's Retirement, Work with Hieron, Chandler, and More

Joshua CareySenior Analyst IApril 21, 2011

With a daily schedule that begins around 6:00 a.m. and lasts until approximately 8:00 p.m., Gil Martinez is one of the hardest working coaches in the sport.

Martinez’ expertise in boxing has benefited many of the world class fighters at Xtreme Couture. Including Couture himself, who faces Lyoto Machida at UFC 129 next Saturday in Toronto.

Earlier this week the UFC Hall of Famer announced that it’ll be the last time he’ll step into the Octagon as a competitor.

Martinez and Couture have been working diligently with one another since Martinez’ arrival at the gym, and he recently told Bleacher Report that his time working with Couture has been superb.

“It’s really been a wonderful, wonderful experience to work with him,” Martinez said. “I think that I’ve been able to help him improve in his striking and that was my whole goal. I’m very happy with the work that we did and the stuff I was able to teach him. It’s tough thinking about him not fighting again, but like you said, he deserves to go out when he wants to and he has a lot of stuff besides fighting that’s going to keep him occupied and busy.

"He deserves to go out and enjoy his life now. He’s accomplished a lot in this sport and he’s definitely going to be one of the big names in UFC history. He deserves to hang them up when he wants.”

In addition to Couture, Martinez’ stable of fighters currently includes Bellator finalists Mike Chandler (7-0 MMA, 4-0 Bellator) and Jay Hieron (21-4 MMA, 2-0 Bellator).

“It’s been really exciting and very fulfilling to watch these guys,” Martinez said. “Especially Mike Chandler, he came in very young and probably with the least amount of experience entering the tournament in his weight class. He’s done exceptionally well and he continues to improve and to grow. This kid wants it and it’s been a pleasure for me to work him because he really wants to be the best at what he does and you can’t ask for more as a coach.

“With Jay, his last fight really gave him the confidence to believe in himself and his first fight only lasted 45 seconds or so, so that really wasn’t a fight. This last fight, he went the distance, so that was basically his first fight back. He got his feet wet again and I think he’s going to steamroll the competition.

"Even though we have tough fights for both of them, I’m very excited and very confident that they’re going to go ahead and beat those guys.”

For Martinez, it is truly a pleasure working day in and day out with the sports’ elite and he’s thankful to be doing what he loves.

”It’s really like a dream come true, it’s wonderful,” Martinez said. “I can’t imagine being able to do what you love and getting paid for it. I had a lot of other jobs before I turned this into my full-time job, and I had great paying jobs. I was just never happy and with this, this is something that I love.

"I’m just glad to be able to help these guys, Jay Hieron, John Alessio, Gray Maynard, Mike Chandler, Vitor Belfort, Ray Sefo, Mike Pyle. The list goes on and each of those guys are wonderful, I couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere to work in and better people to work with. It’s wonderful to see them keep growing and learning, I just can’t wait until these guys fight. It’s a very happy time for me.”