First impressions are the most lasting.
Adriano Martins’ first appearance in the UFC ended at 2:49 of the second round, when he tapped Daron Cruickshank with a kimura to win the Submission of the Night bonus. Less than two weeks after his first UFC win, the Brazilian got the call to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC on FOX 10 in Chicago, Ill., on Jan. 25.
"I got a call from my managers Alex Davis and Samir Nadaf on Friday night with the offer, and I immediately accepted," Martins told MMA Fighting. "I got with my team, discussed the offer and said yes.
"Apparently, UFC was having some trouble to find an opponent for Cerrone, so they offered this fight to me."
Cruickshank was 3-1 in then when he stepped inside the Octagon to face Martins, and Cerrone is coming off a big submission win over Evan Dunham at UFC 167. Martins wasn’t expecting to fight a top 10 opponent after just one fight under the UFC banner, but he wants to make the best with it.
"It’s a big opportunity for me in the UFC," he said. "I want to be one of the best, so it’s a good shortcut to the Top 10. I’ll work hard to get this win. I believe I deserve to be at the Top 10 after this win, and I’ve worked my whole life for this.
"I have a history in the sport in Brazil, but it’s not normal to get in the UFC and fight a top 10 fighter that was close to getting a shot at the title one year ago. I’m happy with this opportunity. I’m sure we’ll have a great fight."
Cerrone is 2-2 in his last four fights, but his 14-6 record in the UFC and WEC will give him the advantage in the experience area. The former Jungle Fight lightweight champion believes in his submission skills to win the fight, though.
"He has a name in the UFC, fought some of the best, and I’m happy to get in there against him. I know I’m ready for this challenge," he said. "I fought jiu-jitsu my whole life. I’ve fought a lot of jiu-jitsu world champions and I feel very comfortable on the ground. I don’t know if my jiu-jitsu is better than his, but I’m really comfortable on the ground.
"I’ll do well if the fight goes to the ground. We always set up a strategy but you never know how the fight will be. I don’t know how I’m going to win, but as soon as I step inside the cage, I’ll only think about the victory. I want to win. I need to win this fight."