"I would definitely say that I have a true passion for the sport and a lot of dedication. "I love a challenge, which also means that I am going to do whatever I can to not only win but to make my opponent think twice about being in this sport" - Max "Payne"Martyniouk
SA: Hello Max “Payne” Martyniouk, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Max Martyniouk: My background includes a lot of striking. I developed a lot of kickboxing and boxing skills at a very young age. As soon as MMA became mainstream I got myself into the sport and started applying my striking skills to the ground work of jiu-jitsu and grappling.
SA: You and your brother were both originally trained by your father. Your brother is currently an undefeated boxer. Can you tell us when and why you began training?
Max Martyniouk: My brother, Stan "The Man" Martyniouk, is currently a professional boxer who is 8-0. My father began training my brother and I when we were kids. When we were in second grade he had us doing push ups, sit ups, strength training, and he began disciplining us on how to use our mind to control ourselves with our aggression. When I was in 5th grade I used to get beat up a lot and I used to come home crying all the time. My dad would always ask, why are you crying? But I would never tell him. I was really embarrassed. But my father wasn’t stupid. I will never forget what he always used to tell me, “son, if somebody hits you, you hit them back twice. And if someone hurts you, you hurt them twice as much." So for self defense my father started training my brother and I with boxing and kickboxing from the 5th grade. That is when I first started to apply my boxing skills towards my personal life. But as far as the sport of Kickboxing and boxing, our father has been showing us boxing and kickboxing techniques since the second grade.
S.A.: What are your future goals in MMA and where do you see yourself in the next 2 years?
Max Martyniouk: My overall goal is to be the best fighter in the world in which ever class I end up fighting in. Currently, I will be competing at 155lbs. The Lightweight division. I always aim for the highest goal. And that goal is to become the best fighter to have ever competed in the sport of MMA. Basically, I want to be a legend. I also want to be able to motivate younger kids and be a positive influence to those who love the sport.
Max Martyniouk: Where do I see my self two years from now? Two years from now I see myself in either the UFC , Strikeforce, etc. But, I would also love to fight overseas for promotions such as Dream, or which ever organization decides to open up during that time. In two years I also see myself competing for a championship belt and becoming the champion of the world. I would love to fight every month. I love the sport of mma.
S.A.: What is your opponents biggest worry when fighting Max Payne? What do they have to look out for?
Max Martyniouk: I would definitely say that I have a true passion for the sport and a lot of dedication. "I love a challenge, which also means that I am going to do whatever I can to not only win but to make my opponent think twice about being in this sport. I don’t like to hurt guys, but when somebody challenges me, I want to be the one who tells them that the challenge that they decide to bring upon me was the wrong idea." My opponents should definitely worry about my dedication and my passion to win and be the best.
But overall, I would have to say my strength. I love to get hit. I love pain! I see blood and it does not scare me. "If you end up trying to hurt me, watch out! It just amplifies my skill level and raises my adrenaline level's to the point where I end up feeling like I can't be beaten."
S.A.: Can you tell us a little bit about your background training with your father as a boxer and then later MMA at Uriuaja Faber’s Camp.
Max Martyniouk: I trained with my father when I was real young. And then my father started bringing us in to a couple of other boxing gyms in Sacramento, CA . We used to train with different trainers and professional fighters. At the age of 19, I started training with James “The Sandman” Irvin, Scott Smith, and their team up north. That was the very first time I was introduced to the sport of MMA. The grappling and the jiu-jitsu came later. And in 2009, I began training with Urijiah Faber and his Alpha Male team in north California. But recently I have been training in south California.
S.A.: You have a very unique story on how you came from Russia and ended up in the United States. Can you tell us a little bit of your background and how you ended up here?
Max Martyniouk: I was born in Tallinn, Estonia . Tallinn is the capital city in Estonia . In 1987 my parents decided that they wanted to get out of the country and wanted to move to Peru, Chile in South America . We took our flight from Moscow, Russia and flew to Newfoundland, Canada. Newfoundland was an island we had to stop at. Because we ended up leaving Russia during winter, we got stuck in an ice storm. "We had no idea how bad it was during the winter times in Canada." The airport ended up paying for our hotel and we ended up staying in Newfoundland for about a week or so. During our stay, my parents met a couple who became real good friends with my parents and presented us with an idea to move to Ottawa, Ontario..I guess that this is where everyone was moving to at that time. So rather than us moving to South America we ended up moving to Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. That is when my father got introduced to Kickboxing. Whats funny is that when he used to go training he would always talk about this nerdy looking guy who was the head instructor. Then one evening, the news came on. The correspondent started talking about a Kickboxing legend. This definitely caught my dads attention. And that Kickboxing legend ended up being my fathers trainer. His name was Jean " The Iceman" Yves Theriault. Probably one of the most popular Kickboxing legends besides Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Dennis "The Terminator" Alexio. He was definitely the most popular and the most famous Kickboxer in Canada. Because of that evening's news coverage, my dad began to look up to Jean. He learned a lot and became undefeated as a kickboxer. We lived in Ottawa, Ontario for about 9 years. Then some time in 1995 or early 1996 my father was invited to fight in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dennis Alexio was also fighting that night. After my father put on an impressive fight with a win he was introduced to Dennis Alexio's trainer. The trainer was impressed and asked my father if he would like move to Sacramento, CA to train. At that time, Sacramento was where Dennis Alexio had trained and lived before moving to Hawaii. So my parents packed up their things and decided to take a road trip from Canada through the middle of the U.S. to Sacramento, CA . Because Kickboxing wasn't as popular in the U.S. as it was in Canada my father started to transition into boxing. Boxing definitely paid much more than Kickboxing. So he became a professional boxer. And that is where boxing and kickboxing came into play in my family.
S.A.: Is there anything you would like to say before we end this interview?
Max Martyniouk: Yes, be on the lookout for the next best Russian MMA fighter and remember my name, Max 'Payne' Martyniouk.