SAN JOSE, Calif. — A showdown between hard hitting middleweights (185 lb. limit) Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (13-5) and Terry Martin (18-5) has been added to Strikeforce "Destruction," the star-studded mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card that will unfold at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, November 21st.
"This is one of the those matchups where there’s no chance it won’t be a great fight," said the 29-year-old Smith, a Sacramento native who has been eager to return to the cage since his loss to Robbie Lawler in the main event of the live CBS televised MMA fight card on July 26th.
"A fight like Terry Martin – ever since I’ve watched him fight, I always thought he’d be an exciting fight for me. I like taking on guys that bring it and like to fight."
Despite the short notice he was given for the meeting with Martin, Smith claims he will enter the fight in better condition that he did for the meeting with Lawler as he had already been preparing for a bout on November 8th that was subsequently canceled.
"My teammates said you got to stick in there and be ready to fight at any time and that’s what I did. I think fighting two weeks later is better for me and is perfect timing."
Smith has become distinguished in the sport of MMA for his undying commitment to becoming a complete fighter with superior skills in all ranges of combat. His devotion is perhaps best exemplified through the five hours he spends on the road, three times each week, in order to train with one of the world’s top Muay Thai kickboxing trainers, Ganyao Fairtex, who is based out of San Francisco.
It is the kickboxing skills he has nurtured under Fairtex for the last three years that Smith believes will be critical to his success against Martin.
"He’s a better boxer and I’m a better kickboxer," said Smith. "I want to keep the fight standing. I know he likes to stand and bang so it’s looking to be a slugfest."
While Smith is looking to rebound from a defeat, the heavy handed Martin is seeking his second straight win. The 28-year-old made a splash debut with Strikeforce by scoring a one punch knockout on rising star Cory "The One" Devela during the promotion’s second event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills on September 20th.
"Cory Devela was a tough guy and he fought a good fight. I just wanted to show people that I’ve got knockout power in both my hands," said Martin. "I’m looking to come out and bang in this fight, too."
Martin is a testament to human fortitude and one’s ability to overcome a troublesome past. A former gang member, he survived five gunshot wounds that nearly took his life at age 15 on the streets of his native Chicago, Illinois, and has since earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and pursued a dual career in professional boxing and MMA. He is on his way to receiving a master’s degree in psychology.
"When I was in the hospital recovering, I was around people who were shot in the same places as me, but who couldn’t walk or who lost their limbs as a result of what happened," explained Martin of what drove him to make such drastic changes in his life. "Some of them even passed away. That really made me think twice and start hanging out in a different environment."
Martin’s determination and spirit caught the eye of another Chicago-based MMA champion in "Mr. International" Shonie Carter while Martin was wrestling competitively for his soon-to-be alma mater. Carter introduced Martin to the local MMA scene and, soon after, a new career was born.
Amongst the notches under Martin’s belt are wins over top contenders Chael Sonnen, Ivan Salaverry, and Jorge Rivera.
"Fighting has always been a part of me. I come from a fightin’ family," said Martin. "You have to be aggressive to make it in MMA. I’m aggressive and agile and I think I have a very entertaining style."
Tickets for Strikeforce "Destruction," priced from $30, are on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and on Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
World Muay Thai Champion Duane "Bang" Ludwig (17-8) will face fellow star Yves Edwards (34-14-1) at a catch weight of 164 lbs.
Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) Champion, Bobby Southworth (9-5), will put his title on the line against top-ranked superstar, Renato "Babalu" Sobral (30-7).
Kim Couture (0-1), wife of mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Randy "The Natural" Couture, will make her Strikeforce debut against Lina Kvokov (0-1) in a 130 lb. limit contest.
Joe "Diesel" Riggs (28-11) will make his return to the welterweight (170 lb. limit) division in a featured contest with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Luke Stewart (6-1).
K-1 Dream veteran, Darren Uyenoyama (4-2), will return to action before his hometown fans when he meets Brad Royster (1-1).
HP Pavilion doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for Strikeforce "Destruction" and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. The main card will commence at 7:30 p.m.
The live HDNet telecast of Strikeforce "Destruction" will begin at 10 p.m. EST (7 p.m. PST).