Commentary

Edgar-Maynard 2, minute-by-minute

Originally Published: October 5, 2011
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- The first time Gil Martinez appeared in Gray Maynard's corner was at UFC Fight Night 13 in Broomfield, Colo., on April 2, 2008.

The matchup featured two undefeated lightweights. Maynard was a clean 4-0 and his opponent, Frankie Edgar, entered 8-0 -- including a win over Maynard's teammate, Tyson Griffin.

The fight went as planned for Martinez and the rest of the camp. Relying mostly on his wrestling background, Maynard cruised to a fairly easy unanimous decision.

Nearly three years and five victories later, Martinez and Maynard ran into the gritty kid from Toms River, N.J., again. This time, it was in the main event of UFC 125 with the 155-pound title on the line.

As the head boxing trainer at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Martinez has been an eyewitness to a fair share of major UFC bouts.

The following is his recount of Jan. 1, 2011.

[1 p.m. PT] Martinez arrives at the MGM Grand Hotel after spending the night in his own bed. Maynard, a Las Vegas native, slept in a hotel room on the Vegas strip. He's eating lunch when his coach arrives, a pre-planned meal he made at home.

[3:45 p.m.] After spending a few hours with members of Maynard's family who have flown in for the fight, the team makes its way to the challenger's private locker room at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It's still hours before Maynard is scheduled to fight, but the UFC requests he arrive this early.

[5:10 p.m.] Jacob Volkmann beats Antonio McGee in the first UFC fight of 2011. Martinez splits time watching the fights and joking with guests who stop by. Occasionally, Maynard paces and throws a half-hearted combination. His cell phone is nowhere in sight -- typical for him before a fight. "He's never on his phone before a fight," Martinez says. "I don't know if he turns if off or what, but I've never seen him with it. Even the day before, during weigh-ins, his cell phone is put away. It's never been like we need to tell him to do it; he does it on his own. That's one of the things I like about Gray. He's extremely disciplined."

[7:10 p.m.] A member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission joins Maynard in his locker room and Martinez begins the familiar ceremony of wrapping his hands. The mood is light, but Martinez doesn't hesitate to relay final preparations that enter his head. The fight is less than two hours away.

[2:20 p.m. Dec. 29, 2010 -- Three days earlier.] Walking through the casino floor of the MGM Grand, Martinez spots a UFC 125 graphic printed on a blackjack table. He snaps a photo on his iPhone and sends it to Maynard. "It's your time baby!" reads the text.

[8:36 p.m.] UFC middleweight Brian Stann makes his way to the Octagon for a co-main event fight against Chris Leben. Inside Maynard's locker room, Martinez begins warming him up. The plan is a good 15-20 minutes of work. Mitts and a light roll. Short period of rest follows. Then they walk.

[8:44 p.m.] The co-main is over. Leben walks into a Stann right hand and then eats a knee. Site coordinator Burt Watson, also known as "The Busiest Man in the UFC," pops into Maynard's locker room. "Ten minutes! We roll in 10 minutes!" "We didn't finish our warmup," Martinez says. "We just did as much as we could."

[8:54 p.m.] Maynard enters the arena to the song "Lose my Mind" by Young Jeezy. Martinez, Maynard's grappling coach Sean Spangler and fellow fighters Randy Couture and Jay Hieron follow behind. "Walking in, that's when it really hits you," Martinez says. "You get nervous, because anything can happen in a fight. But we were very confident and comfortable, knowing Gray was ready."

[+] EnlargeEdgar
Ed Mulholland for ESPN.comGil Martinez realized the magnitude of the event as Frankie Edgar made his way to the Octagon.

[8:56 p.m.] As he stands on the outside of the cage holding Maynard's sponsorship banner, Martinez hears his name being called out by a few familiar voices. He turns and spots Xtreme Couture teammates Mike Pyle and Tyson Griffin three rows up, both wearing goofy grins, pointing to imaginary watches on their wrists, yelling: "It's time!" Martinez smiles and points to them briefly but his focus is quickly shifted back to the fight as Edgar's entrance music begins. "You've got people yelling at you and that part kind of takes you away from thinking about what you're there for. But then you hear Frankie's music and you start looking for him to come out."

[8:57 p.m.] Edgar enters the arena. Martinez spots him immediately, because he's now broken into a run to the Octagon. There is no strict game plan for the opening minutes to revisit with Maynard. But there is a strong belief regarding the fight in general. "Speed-wise, Frankie might be faster," Martinez says. "But we weren't worried about him out-speeding Gray, because we knew eventually we'd catch him and hurt him."

[9:01 p.m.] The main event of UFC 125: "Resolution," which literally means "the act of solving a dispute," begins.

[Round 1, 4:30 mark] Martinez like what he sees. Maynard's movement is good and he's getting a nice reaction from Edgar off his jab.

[Evening. Dec. 16, 2010. Sixteen days earlier.] Hard at work as usual in the cage at Xtreme Couture. Martinez is hammering on a detail Maynard has heard repeatedly throughout this camp. Edgar has a natural tendency to step back and circle to his right. It's a good opportunity for Maynard to throw his lead left hook, but with a slight alteration. Because he's moving back, Maynard has to pick up his back foot and step slightly forward. If he remains stationary, he won't reach him. "I need you turn your right hip forward, Gray. Move your back foot. Don't come up short."

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AP Photo/Eric JamisonFrankie Edgar, top, and Gray Maynard spent the better part of five rounds battling for momentum.

[Round 1, 3:41 mark] Maynard executes, landing a left hook that sends Edgar staggering back. Behind Martinez, Spangler jumps to his feet with his arms raised. Martinez doesn't celebrate yet. "Pick your shots!" he yells. He tells his fighters, you have 10 seconds after you hurt a guy to take advantage. Maynard does his coach proud, and lands two hard uppercuts right under Edgar's chin. At that point, Martinez allows himself to jump to his feet. Lavigne is moving forward, as if to stop the fight. Edgar, though, makes it back to his feet and the fight continues.

[End of Round 1] A long round for the champion comes to an end. In the first five minutes, Maynard scores six knockdowns and throws 97 punches.

[End of Round 1.] Judges' scores: Patricia Morse Jarman: 10-8, Maynard. Glenn Trowbridge, 10-8, Maynard. Marcos Rosales, 10-8, Maynard.

[Round 2, 2:00 mark] Martinez is convinced Maynard is taking this round off. To many watching, it appears he's fallen into a head-hunting mode. But to Martinez that's only half the story. Maynard is conserving strength. "It's understandable with all the punches he threw. What I want in those situations is my guy to not exchange when he's tired. Use your footwork and catch your breath."

[Round 2, 1:19 mark] Edgar ducks under a sloppy right hand and slams Maynard to the canvas. The arena goes crazy for the move, but in the corner, it's not a huge concern for Martinez. He's not worried about Edgar finishing the fight at all. He's worried about Maynard's stamina.

[End of Round 2] Couture lights into Maynard, telling him, "You're trying to knock his a-- out, just beat him up!" Martinez gets his words in. "Touch, touch, then load up." What he's most eager to see, though, is how much Maynard has left. "I felt the third round would tell us a lot. Gray had never been past three. I remember thinking, if he declines in this round, we're in trouble."

[End of Round 2.] Morse Jarman: 19-18, Maynard. Trowbridge: 19-18, Maynard. Rosales: 19-18, Maynard.

[Round 3, 3:58 mark] Immediately, Maynard is moving better than in the second. He's measuring his punches and he's working off his jab instead of loading up on counters.

[Round 3, 0:03 mark] In addition to yelling advice, Martinez is scoring the round in his head, and he's got it all Maynard. Edgar finishes the final seconds in a guillotine, but it doesn't scare Martinez. "Gray is too strong for that," he says. "We had fought tougher guys than Frankie -- Nate Diaz. Jim Miller. Roger Huerta. They put Gray in some positions people don't get out of and he got out."

[End of Round 3.] Morse Jarman: 28-28. Trowbridge: 29-27, Maynard. Rosales: 28-28.

[Round 4, 4:42 mark] After emphasizing the importance of the jab between rounds, Martinez is thrilled to see Maynard land several early here. But Edgar catches him off-guard with a double-leg. Maynard backs up to the fence, goes down to his left knee and Edgar ties up a standing guillotine. "I'm worried here," Martinez says. "But once he got back to his feet, I knew he was fine."

[Round 4, 1:54 mark] Hat tip to Edgar. He's outworking Maynard and mixing in takedowns has won him the round. He nails Maynard with two left hands against the fence. But even if this keeps up, Martinez knows that's two rounds to two. And for the first time tonight, he wonders how the judges scored the first. "Easily 10-7, if not 10-6." There's no way, he thinks, his charge isn't ahead.

[End of Round 4.] Morse Jarman: 38-37, Edgar. Trowbridge: 38-37, Maynard. Rosales: 38-37, Edgar.

[Round 5, 4:15 mark] Maynard lands two stiff jabs and, as was the case in the first and third, Martinez loves what he sees. Maynard hasn't been impeccable, but he's looking to close the case here on Edgar and he's focused. His footwork is technical and with purpose. "Nothing real wild. This is perfect for me," he says.

[Round 5, 3:06 mark] Maynard starts to shoot, despite winning the standup so far in the round. Edgar shrugs him off and lands a knee. "I think he wanted to punctuate the round with a takedown there," Martinez says. "But even with that, we're still winning the round."

[Round 5, 0:10 mark] Both finish the fight swinging. The horn sounds and Martinez grabs Maynard's sponsor T-shirt to make sure it's visible when they strap on the belt. Another quick tally in his head: "First, third, fifth. We won." He says the same to Maynard. "First, third and fifth."

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AP Photo/Gregory PayanFrankie Edgar hardly looked the part of a defending champion after five rounds with Gray Maynard.

[The final scores.] Morse Jarman: 47-47. Trowbridge: 48-46, Maynard. Rosales: 48-46, Edgar.

[9:32 p.m.] Bruce Buffer reads the split draw. First reaction from Martinez is not emotion for himself, but for his fighter. "I felt bad for Gray," he says. "I told him, 'You did not lose that fight.'" For Martinez, the difference in how both fighters react says it all. Maynard looks "disgusted." Edgar, in Martinez's eyes, looks "relieved." "When you feel you won, you don't have that type of relief on your face."

[9:50 p.m.] Back in the locker room, surrounded by his family and team, Maynard can't believe the belt's not around his waist. The only thing Martinez can think to say is, "Don't worry, Gray. You won that fight. They know that and you'll get a rematch."

[10:30 p.m.] Martinez hangs out toward the back of the news conference. Maynard is on the podium. UFC president Dana White is not hosting as usual. Vice president of production Craig Borsari runs the show instead. He reveals, with Maynard sitting directly to his left, that WEC champion Anthony Pettis will get the next shot at Edgar. Martinez worries for a second Maynard is about to get up and walk out.

[11:30 p.m.] The entire team is back where the day started -- in Maynard's hotel room. The conversation focuses mostly on the judges' decision. No one knows what to say about the UFC moving forward with an Edgar/Pettis fight.

"And then someone, I forget who it was, basically told Gray that Dana was trying to get a hold of him," says Martinez, nearing the end of his take on what was a roller coaster night, from his back office at Xtreme Couture. "I was watching him when he got Dana on the phone and, if I remember right, he said, 'I love you, Dana.' I knew it had to be good news when he said that. It didn't make the decision right, in my opinion, but at least what should have happened, happened. He deserved another fight against Frankie. And now, it's been almost a year. That's all he's been thinking about is Frankie Edgar, Frankie Edgar. Finally, we're about a week away. It's his time now."

Maynard meets Edgar UFC 136 at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday.

Brett Okamoto covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at bokamotoESPN.

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