Martin Stapleton – “I want to be the World Champion!”

Martin “.50 Cal” Stapleton has become one of the latest additions to the growing BAMMA 17 card which takes place on December 6th, at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. Stapleton has signed an 18 month deal with the promotion and is hopeful of keeping very active over the contracted period. “BAMMA showed me their schedule which is packed, between now and March they have three shows. Injury depending I would love to compete in February and March next year but we will see how it goes. BAMMA are looking to try and get me four fights next year though!”

The SGB fighter is looking to stay as active as he can which is the main reason that him and his team requested to be released from his contract with Bellator, something which had been on the cards for a while for Stapleton. “In all honesty I didn’t want to be with them for the last 12 months. The whole situation right from the start you could just tell logistically it wasn’t working. It’s not run as well as the likes of the UFC for overseas fighters. They haven’t been able to get me as many fights as I wanted, I had to wait from last September and now we are in October. I wanted to move away from that and look after myself.”

Stapleton fought for Bellator on three occasions but was unable to get a win across the pond. While Stapleton was disappointed with his first two losses he really felt that the defeat at Bellator 125 against Goti Yamauchi was a huge learning experience. “In my first two fights I had a lot of stuff going on outside of fighting and I let things get out of hand and take me away from training. I’m not blaming anyone other than me for that though. But in my last fight I was very happy with how I performed even though I didn’t win. I made a few mistakes but I stayed very composed.”

The Manchester based fighter is being thrown straight into the fire at BAMMA 17 as he is set to take on Jeremy “Ninja” Petley, who for Stapleton is a true test of his skills and someone who he holds in high regards. “Jeremy is a great fighter and he just continues to get better and improve in every fight. He is anything but one dimensional and is not afraid to mix it up. I watched his fight with Dyson Roberts recently and he showed a lot of heart in that to come back and win. He is a very good opponent and I am looking forward to testing my skills against him. I certainly believe I can beat him in all areas of the fight and after this win will be looking at a future title shot.”

A shot at the title is often the pinnacle of a fighter’s career and although it may be part of Stapleton’s medium term aspirations to be BAMMA Champion he understands its something that can only come with him winning the fights ahead of him which is what he is giving his 100% focus to right now. “Who knows what BAMMA are thinking but there is no point focusing on that. I am just focusing all my energy on Jeremy Petley. My goal in the sport it to become the best fighter on the planet, I’m not doing this for a hobby. I’m not just doing this to see if I can or not. I want to be the World Champion. BAMMA are a well-recognised organisation and their World Title is a big title and that’s what I am heading towards. But right now I am just focusing on this fight and will see where we can go from there.”

His debut for BAMMA takes place at The Victoria Warehouse in Manchester will serve as a homecoming for the Stapleton but fighting in front of his close friends and family isn’t something which he believes will affect him. “No I don’t feel pressure ahead of any fight. I love what I am doing so there is no pressure for me. If you don’t enjoy doing it then do something else. Last time I though at FCC I had people coming up to me about an hour before my fight asking how I was so relaxed, it’s just what I do. I don’t feel pressure.”

Whilst it will be the first time fighting for the promotion on December 6th, Stapleton has an ongoing relationship with Chris Zorba (BAMMA consultant) which certainly made things a bit easier for him to put pen to paper with BAMMA. “I worked with Chris in the past (fighting for OMMAC) and we get on well, he is a friend of mine. It’s good that I get on with Chris, but aside from that BAMMA showed me how much value they thought I would bring to the company.”

Hailing from the Staight Blast Gym in Manchester has given Stapleton the opportunity to spend time training with the likes of Conor McGregor, Cathal Pendred and Gunnar Nelson over the last few months. An experience which for Stapleton has really helped to improve his game. “I went to Iceland with Gunnar and then spent some time at SBG Ireland which helped me out massively. But the thing is with SBG is that it’s the method and it’s no different in any of the SBG gyms. It’s a structure thing and the methods and atmosphere is recreated in all the SBG gyms. It’s a holistic thing. There is a set of principal’s and an ideology which is shared and helps everyone improve. I feel like I am improving every day when I am there.”

So what can fans heading to BAMMA 17 expect to see from Martin “.50 Cal” Stapleton? “I will show my improvements for sure. I fought recently at FCC and got a win and it just showed that I am improving on everything. My style is difficult for anyone in the division at BAMMA. I can strike with anyone in the world and recently got my purple belt in BJJ. There won’t be any specific differences since my previous fights but certainly improvements!”

Martin would like to thank “SBG Manchester, Full Contact Performance Centre in Rochdale and Legacy Clothing.”

Be sure to follow Martin on twitter @Stapes_50cal

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