David Martinez and Michael Kennedy.
David Martinez and Michael Kennedy.

MMA MAIN EVENT: Our ‘Smiling Assassin’ back for regional bout

SMILING and exchanging banter probably isn’t what most people do in a fight, but for former Bundaberg local David Martinez it’s such a strong personality trait it’s in his cage name.

Neither ‘The Smiling Assassin’ nor his wife, Jane Martinez, remember exactly how he got the name – thinking it was possibly bestowed on him by someone in one of his first gyms.

But it’s an apt name.

“He’s painfully shy, but he’s just smiling constantly,” Mrs Martinez said.

“Inside and outside of the cage he’s just smiling.

“It’s very, very different … he’s a killer in the cage but outside he’s sweet and kind.”

David and Jane Martinez with coach Prof. Ryan Dunstan.
David and Jane Martinez with coach Prof. Ryan Dunstan.

Mrs Martinez said they moved to Bundaberg in 2011, and left for the Sunshine Coast only in May last year for easier access to gyms and fights, now training under Professor Ryan Dunstan at the Ignite Martial Arts Academy.

“Before we came to Caloundra we had to build our own gym at home,” she said.

The two-time Australian Lightweight Champion is ranked third of 83 current Australian and New Zealand Lightweights and holds a Professional MMA record of six wins and two losses.

Now, after a few pro fights down south in Melbourne and the Gold Coast, he’s coming back to fight a little closer to home at Beast Championship 3: Redemption, coming up in Gladstone next month.

It’s one of the smaller shows in the country, but Mrs Martinez hopes that David’s attendance could help draw more people and help inspire those that go.

“Beast is a regional show, it’s a lot smaller and trying to get up there with the other shows,” she said.

“It’s great to be able to go back and help out where you can.

“The more we can help by being back in our home town, it just makes us feel good, especially with a lot of youngsters coming through.

“It gives them something to look forward to.”

Jane and David Martinez with his belt after a fight.
Jane and David Martinez with his belt after a fight.

One of the youngsters in question will be Michael Kennedy, the current pinweight champion, who appears on the same card as Martinez and will fight as part of the main event.

For spectators and speculative fighters, Mrs Martinez said going to a show like Redemption would give them the chance to meet people who have made a successful fighting career.

“They’ll get to see his head coach, Ryan Dunstan,” she said.

“They’ll get to see these people and think ‘That’s where I can get to’.

“It means a lot to David to be able to go back and give back.

“You don’t have to start off in a big city.”

The “painfully shy” Smiling Assassin certainly wasn’t a great fighter in his first bout, not knowing how to wrap his hands, what to do and without a corner man, he was choked out in the first round of his first fight.

“When he started fighting … he hadn’t done any training or anything – he watched a movie,” Mrs Martinez laughed.

Prof. Ryan Dunstan and David Martinez.
Prof. Ryan Dunstan and David Martinez.

But he began properly training and his next fight ended in a draw two years later.

He then rocketed forward, winning nine amateur fights in a row before going pro in 2018 and winning a further six consecutively.

“A 15-fight winning streak – the longest in Australian history,” Mrs Martinez said.

But the streak couldn’t last forever, with the once-undefeated champion losing his first professional bout in 2019, and his second loss a month later.

“David didn’t want to let anybody down … he was sick for the one in November,” she said.

“That was his first loss in eight years.”

“We had another fight a week later and we couldn’t really back out of that one.”

David “The Smiling Assassin” Martinez will face Paul “The Brawler” Franchi as part of the main event at Beast Championship 3: Redemption, at the PCYC Gladstone, March 21.