‘I’m living a dream. I get to travel the world and fight.’ Says Diandra Martin, a week out from her first fight in the United States. She is set to face former ONE Strawweight Muay Thai title challenger Jackie Buntan at ONE’s inaugural show in the US; ONE Fight Night 10 in Colorado.
Martin called out Buntan after her victory over Amber Kitchen at ONE Fight Night 1 last year, and believes a victory over Buntan is her opportunity to make a big statement in the strawweight division.
‘I called Jackie out in my last fight against Amber because she’s a good fighter. She’s made a name for herself in ONE, and if you want to get anywhere you have to challenge yourself and she’s going to be a challenge, that why I’ve called her out. She’s got beautiful movement; she’s got beautiful hands. I want to put her to the test just as much as she’s going to put me to the test.’ Said Martin.
Martin started Muay Thai when a friend brought her to a gym on a whim, where she fell in love with the sport. A year later she recruited her younger sister Devina to join the gym, and now both sisters are under contract with ONE. Diandra said having a training partner so similar in terms of height and weight has been a great benefit in this camp.
‘[Devina]’s very close in my weight so she’s one of my training partners…It was great to spar in the little gloves with her because she’s roughly the same height as Jackie and moves the same way as her.’
Although sparing between the sisters can get rough, Martin says the rivalry between the two stays in the gym.
‘It’s great. We can train hard and punch each other in the face then be fine when we go home. We’re sweet after. It’s a great dynamic and I tell people I’ve found the loophole because I can hit my sibling without getting in trouble by my parents.’
This fight will be Martin’s third fight in ONE championship, her first being a loss to current Strawweight champion Smilla Sundell, and Martin says she’s more focused on stepping into the cage than ever heading into this fight.
‘There’s so much happening, from my last fight against Smilla on ONE to now. I know to be a bit more focused and channel my energy towards the task at hand. I just remember thinking “Oh there’s so many bright lights and all of this.” And things like that, but now I’m just like “That’s a cool fight, I’ll watch it after I win.”’
Despite this focus, Martin is still aware of the stage she is fighting on, and just how much she’s sacrificed to make it to the world stage.
‘Dedication and hard work will put you here. I’ve lost many friends, I’ve lost many relationships and things like that because people couldn’t handle how much I needed to train. If you’re an athlete and you have a dream of going somewhere you’re going to give it your all because in a couple of years’ time when you’re not competing or you’re looking back on your life, do you want to say you’ve done the bare minimum? You want to say “I did everything I could” or “I’m a world champ” and things like that. These are things you’re going to look back on…If you surround yourself with likeminded people, people with the same passion, the same drive, that’s going to help you…they’re the people close to my heart.’
Martin will face Buntan at ONE Fight Night 10, broadcast via the 7plus app on Saturday May 6th.