ISTANBUL -- Nathan Corbett didn't fare so well in his GLORY debut against Tyrone Spong at GLORY 11: "Chicago" this past October, as he was knocked out in the second round. That was his first defeat in over seven years. After the loss, the No. 8-ranked GLORY light heavyweight went back to Australia -- where he lives and has dominated as a Muay Thai champion for years -- and got back in the win column with a knockout victory over Henriques Zowa at Total Carnage IV in December.
Now for his next fight under the GLORY banner, the Aussie will face the No. 2-ranked GLORY light heavyweight Gokhan Saki in the opening round of the GLORY 15 light heavyweight tournament for the inaugural champion of the division, as well as $200,000 in prize money.
It certainly hasn't gotten easier for the multi-time Aussie Muay Thai champion.
"No easy fights right," Corbett told MMAmania.com after the GLORY 15 press conference at Hotel Suadiye. "I signed a two-fight deal with GLORY and I fought Spong straight up, which I asked for myself, and Saki after that. Two of the big bangers; two of the killers. It is a big challenge for me. I'm not going to lie to you. I've prepared the best I feel I can. I'm feeling strong and if that's not enough, that's not enough."
The W.K.N. Heavyweight Muay Thai champion won his last fight over Zowa by elbow knockout, one of his best weapons that he isn't allowed to use under the GLORY rules. Before the question by MMAmania.com could be finished about the Aussie fighter feeling handcuffed by the rules, he responded with, "Oh yeah."
In reality, taking away Corbett's use of elbow strikes is the equivalent of taking away a starting MLB pitcher's fastball. When he fights in GLORY, a big piece of his game is missing and his game plan and preparation are altered. You can tell by how he speaks about the topic, that it is difficult for him.
"At the press conference I didn't talk too much about the elbows because I've come over to GLORY and accepted the rules, I've got to sort of stop talking about it," Corbett said, 100 percent, I love to elbow and it is my go-to weapon if I'm getting overwhelmed by punches. Put it this way, if I fought Saki with elbows, I could stop him right away. He's wide open for an elbow knockout; he swings hard. But, those are the rules. It's a different game."
Knees are allowed under the GLORY rules, but a clinch for more than three seconds is not, making that part of his game a challenge as well.
"I figure well, the next sharpest thing is the knee, but then it's not always the easiest to score a knee without a clinch, or without the ability to land an elbow first, and get the guard up and drive the knee underneath," the 34-year-old Gold Coast native said, explaining the nuances. "Keeping it kickboxing. Keeping the knees there. I trained in Thailand for five weeks for this fight because I just wanted to get away and just do something that makes me feel good. It's all about feeling good."
Corbett maybe feeling good for GLORY 15, but he won't have his fan base behind him like he usually does in Australia. At Ulker Arena on Saturday, it will be the exact opposite for him. He will be on the opposing side of Saki fighting in front of all the hometown Turkish fans.
"Carnage" is embracing the imminent role reversal.
"Fighting Saki in his hometown with that adrenaline pumping atmosphere. Them just going 'Saki, Saki, Saki' all the way, he will be hotheaded and ready to go," Corbett predicted. "Obviously he is dangerous, straight up. I need to get my feet under myself and drive it home, but definitely getting through that fight, I feel like I'll just walk through another fight, because you don't get half way and stop."
"I visualized it before I came here. I put myself in my opponent's shoes back at home, how it feels and what is going to be like. I'm going to thrive off that energy and take it into the fight with me and make it a bit more crazy and go for the kill basically. Instead of going in there to win the fight, I'm actually going in there to kill."