Martin Stapleton, former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Team US vs Team UK, is set to take on Alexei Roberts at OMMAC 17 on June 1. ’50.Cal’ holds a 12-1 record with his only loss coming to former UFC fighter Paul Sass and the last eight of those 12 wins are consecutive. Here, Martin talks about his win streak, his time as a Royal Marine Commando and his title aspirations:
Thanks for taking the time to speak to Love2Fight – would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Thanks guys, im Martin “50.Cal” Stapleton, I run the Full Contact Performance Centre in Rochdale and fight out of there and Team Kaobon.
Can we ask where you got the nickname “50.Cal” from?
Yeah from the Browning .50 Cal Heavy Machine Gun! When I started training years ago with the Butlin brothers everyone had nicknames after weapons like Ian “M16” Butlin, Dave “B52” Butlin and Matt “12Gauge” Thorpe so it fitted well as I used to be a .50 Cal gunner in the Marines!
You were on The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom. How would you rate that experience?
It was good but not as good as what im doing now! TUF is in the past, right now I feel I get the best training possible at Kaobon, FCPC, training with the Sinclair brothers, Andy Aspinall etc so im looking towards the future!
It has been a good few months since you last fought at OMMAC, is it good to be back there?
Yeah, I love fighting and I like to stay active. Chris Zorba treats me (and all the fighters) like part of the family at OMMAC so im just excited to get back in and claim another victory!
In December you won the Cage Contenders tournament. First of all, congratulations and second, what was it like fighting three times in one night?
Well it was difficult because something that not a lot of people know is that I had a serious back injury during that training camp and at times I thought I wouldn’t be able to fight! But I trusted what Colin Herron told me and believed in myself and it turned out okay! (laughs) Physically I felt fine, conditioning wise. I did 6 x 5 min rounds that night and I could have done six more. But between fights my back was in absolute agony which I obviously had to ignore and just get out there. The back injury slowed my mobilty down during the fights but i had to adjust things and get the job done. It taught me alot about myself.
You were ruled out of a fight with Chris Hoban at the last OMMAC event through injury, do you feel healthy again now? How is your training going?
Yeah it was nothing serious, it was just bad timing as i had to have 3/4 weeks rest right before the fight. But its all good now and training is getting better and better. Every fight camp I’m learning new things technically and athletically so its all good right now.
In your opinion, would a win on June 1 put you back into contention for a title shot?
Without sounding cocky, I believe I have earned a shot at any title in the UK. Im 12-1 and I just won this Cage Contender – Fight Stars tourney that a lot of the top guys all signed up to. Obviously some of the other high ranked guys pulled out but there’s nothing anyone can do about that. As far as I’m concerned, I said I’d win the tourney no matter who was in it and I did, so yes I think I’ve more than earned a title shot.
You are on an eight-fight win streak – do you see that streak continuing?
I think so but I guess we’ll find out on June 1st!
Because of your commitments as a Royal Marine Commando, you did not fight for three years. What can you tell us about being a Royal Marine Commando and how did it feel to fight again after so long?
Being a Royal Marine is not a job it’s a way of life. I believe Royal Marines are some of the most professional and determined people on the planet and as such we challenge each other every day to become better and better at everything we do. So being around guys like that means even though I wasn’t fighting an MMA fight I was always competing and staying focused on a task, the manner of the task doesnt matter, whether it’s fighting, going to war or going on a course we do everything to the extremes of professionalism.
Again, thanks for your time and good luck in your fight. Do you have anybody you’d like to thank?
There’s lots of people I need to thank but I’m going to say a huge thanks to my sponsors www.cross-deck.co.uk – these guys helped me in every aspect in leaving the military and setting up my gym. And my nutrition sponsors Inner Armour!