Los Angeles, California: There were distinct and unmistakable thuds coming from inside Dynamic Martial Arts on Santa Monica boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, the result of kicks bouncing off training pads, accompanied by loud shouts to go along with each of them in rhythmic succession; a combination that was commanding the rooms attention. Those kicks were being delivered by Simon Marcus, the only undefeated fighter in the field of eight that will enter the GLORY "Last Man Standing" tournament to crown the middleweight champion this Saturday night (June 21, 2014) in Inglewood.
The 27-year-old Canadian will be making his GLORY debut against Joe Schilling in the tournament's opening round. Marcus has twice defeated Schilling while the two fought for the Lion Fight promotion, and has also defeated Artem Levin, the current No. 1-ranked GLORY middleweight, as well as Filip Verlinden. Even with those victories over three of the fighters in the pay-per-view (PPV) tournament, Marcus isn't considering them an advantage and says he doesn't look back, only forward.
"To be honest, I'm not even worrying about the fight before," Marcus told MMAmania.com after finishing his workout. "I'm worrying about the fight ahead, and whether it's Joe or any of the other seven men in the tournament, I am ready and the fight is going to be who is the better person. I'm the best version of me right now, so it doesn't matter if it's Joe or anybody else, I am ready to go."
Once a troublesome teenager, Marcus discovered the Siam No. 1 Gym in Toronto and began training under Ajahn Suchart Yodkerepauprai at the age of 16. He turned professional in 2009 and has won WBC, and WCK Muay Thai titles as well as the Lion Fight light heavyweight title.
Many experts have questioned how well the seasoned Muay Thai practitioner will be able to perform under the GLORY rules, which prohibit clinching and elbows, an area Marcus highly excels at. The No. 5-ranked middleweight says the transition is "not difficult at all," and explained how it won't be a deterrent.
"I tend to go to the clinch a lot when I'm fighting, not just because I go to the clinch, other fighters like to clinch me as well, to get out of the way from my kicks and punches, which are strong," explained Marcus. "So, I fight whether I am in the clinch or on the outside, but in the GLORY rules there is no clinching -- perfect -- we are going to bang and it's going to be a fight regardless of what the rules are."
Fighting in a tournament is one of the more difficult challenges a fighter in GLORY has to face. Marcus has fought in two four-man tournaments in China, winning both of them while only going to a decision once, but "Last Man Standing" will be the first eight-man tournament of his career. However as tumultuous as a task it may be, the possibility of fighting three times in one night is a mountain that he seems excited to climb.
"That's what I love; I love the challenge," said Marcus with a smile. "The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. I'm looking forward to it."
The undefeated middleweight who says he "never" feels any added pressure to continue his streak, and just "focuses" on the task in front of him, is also enthusiastic about introducing himself to the the American crowd at The Forum, and the PPV view audience watching at home on Saturday night.
"This is what I live for," he says. "I'm feeling great. It's an epic tournament and I'm ready to get in action and become a legend."