It was a little more than four years ago, and about one minute into the third round at Champions of Champions 2 in Jamaica, when Tyrone Spong found himself lying on his back and staring up at the lights. He had just fallen victim to a vicious right hand from Nathan Corbett.
To make matters worse, after he had managed to make it back to his feet, the referee was waving the fight off when Corbett stepped in and dropped Spong again. That illegal blow would result in the fight being declared a "No Contest" instead of a knockout victory.
Looking back at that fight ahead of his rematch with Corbett at Glory 11 tonight (Oct. 12, 2013) at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., Spong admitted he considers that fight a defeat.
"For me the no contest ... for me it's a loss, I lost that fight," he told MMAmania recently. "Back then, I was a young kid when I fought him. I did a lot of growing up since that fight. I'm just looking forward to this fight."
The No.1-ranked GLORY Light Heavyweight doesn't hold "any grudges" with Corbett for the late blows that occurred back then, his motivation isn't to get payback for the illegal strikes, it's simply to atone for what he considers a loss.
"I lost that fight, so of course I want to get my revenge," Spong said, before explaining that it's Corbett's "childish" complaining about the "No Contest" that irritates him.
"What I don't like is him talking about he just won and this and that and the no contest is bullsh*t," Spong said. "Come on man, I don't make the f**king rules. I'm not part of the commission, I'm a fighter just like you."
They aren't exactly alike in the kickboxing world as far as notoriety goes. The "King of the Ring" is one of the most popular fighters on the planet right now. Corbett has been killing it on the Australian scene, winning thirteen fights in a row since the "no contest" against Spong. Take that fight out of the equation and it would be 28 in a row. That's a tremendous accomplishment for any fighter in any country, but still the No.5-ranked Glory light heavyweight's popularity pales in comparison to that of the Blackzilian fighter.
Would anyone be talking about Corbett, if he wasn't matched up against Spong at Glory 11? The Dutch-Surinamese fighter doesn't think so.
"Before this fight, who was talking about Nathan Corbett? Nobody," Spong said bluntly. "His name is getting out there because he's fighting me again. Not to sound any kind of way or whatever," he continues, admitting he's at risk of sounding cocky. "I'm very popular in the States with my MMA fights, and in kickboxing I am a big name. Even though the last fight me and him had, I have grown so much and my name and everything got out there. So, I think for him, it's a big deal fighting me again."
Tomorrow is undoubtedly a huge night for Glory, as it marks the promotion's debut on SPIKE TV. A vastly important night, that could, for all intents and purposes, lead to a huge break through for kickboxing in the US.
Is it the most important fight of the Glory 9 light heavyweight tournament winner's career? "Not at all," Spong says, in a cavalier tone. "It's just another fight for me, and I approach it like that."
Don't get him wrong, he's aware of the magnitude of the evening and he is proud to be a part of it.
"I'm the main event on Spike TV. I see that for me personally as a big achievement," Spong said. "It puts it out there that I am the face of Glory and I am the guy who is promoting the kickboxing sport in the States at the highest level. I feel very privileged about that," he continued.
"It's main-stream media in the States. It's kickboxing at the highest level, Tyrone Spong the main event, it doesn't get any better than that. For me it's a big accomplishment and I feel very honored and very happy to be fighting on Spike, making kickboxing main stream in the states and promoting it."
After the fight vs. Corbett, the fighter known as the "Bo Jackson" of combat sports is "going to do a boxing fight at the end of the year." Kickboxing with Glory, MMA with WSOF and boxing being next, Spong says he is "trying to build a legacy as one of the best combat sports athletes."
"I enjoy doing it," Spong admits. "I want to thank all my fans and all the people, and I want to call them out to support me on this journey of mine. As I'm doing it, I will always try to entertain you guys. Just support me and follow me."
Tonight on SPIKE TV, he takes his next step.