For most people when accidents happen, something has gone wrong. For Courtney Martin, she claims her love of MMA was an accident after she was dragged into a gym by a friend, but it is something that is proving to be very right for her MMA career. “The gym had a contagious energy I couldn’t get enough of and before I knew it I’d fallen off the deep end and straight into the cage.”

Growing up Martin idolised women that had made it to the top of their sporting fields regardless of her interest in a particular sport. “A few women that come to mind that had me in awe were Cathy Freeman and Serena Williams. I remember watching Cathy at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Serena play at Wimbledon tournaments with my Grandma and being amazed by their skill and dedication.”

These lasting impressions drove her on to become a woman that the next generation of aspiring stars look up to and thus her journey began. “I started out doing the fitness classes but would always watch the end of the bjj class before starting. It took me about 6 months before I worked up the courage to jump in. After that I started competing in nogi and from there I spiralled into doing all classes and taking stand up more seriously. I then went on to compete in MMA next and really only took on boxing or muay thai fights to help gain experience for my MMA progression.”

Her talent and dedication have paid off and not only in the ring, but the journey has not been without its challenges. “My progress hasn’t been linear; it has had its ups and downs. However, for the last 7 years I’ve dedicated my life to my training regardless. Last year I made my professional boxing debut after having a few amateur fights over the years. After that I really wanted to do something for myself. Training and competing had become more of a job than a hobby which I was grateful for but had become overwhelmed by. I joined a local baseball team and played the season, receiving the MVP award, all whilst continuing my full time training. It gave me a renewed sense of motivation in what I get to do. I love being active and surrounded by passionate people, whether in the gym or on the field.”

With the GAMMA Oceania Championships next month, we will surely get to witness that passion as she attempts to win more GAMMA silverware after her success at the 2019 GAMMA World Championships, although she is not getting ahead of herself. “My only expectation going into this is that I will do my absolute best. Having won before doesn’t mean anything once you step into the ring again. I know there will be some incredibly talented women at the event who will put up a hell of a fight.”

Speaking about the value of the event for the MMA community in Oceania, Martin is very enthusiastic. “These tournament-style competitions are fantastic opportunities for combat sports athletes. It gives us a chance to face different styles and skill levels, pushes us to our absolute limits, and challenges us more than a single fight would. It also gives us all chance to meet other athletes that could one day become future training partners and perhaps more importantly, friends.”

Despite having a good support network and friends circle, Courtney knows that only she is responsible for her success. “I fight for myself. I fight to better myself and push my limits and prove that all my ceilings are capable of being broken. When I step into the ring, I know that I’m ready, that I’ve done everything in my power to prepare for this and that no one is more willing to put in the work and sacrifices than me.”

Having already experienced competing professionally for ONE Championship, everything she does now is part of her continued learning process. “I want to successfully compete in the GAMMA Oceania Championships and have at least one more MMA or boxing fight this year. My next goal would be to gain my brown belt. I haven’t had the most successful run in my professional career, however, that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to learn and push myself. Every fight and every outcome is a teachable moment and we can learn so much from them.”

Wise words indeed. Keep following for the next chapter of her MMA career in Auckland next month.