Now that the dust has settled from GLORY: "Last Man Standing" (results here), the talk of future match ups in the deepest division in the kickboxing promotion have begun.
Who will the king of the middleweight jungle and new GLORY middleweight champion, Artem Levin, defend his title against in his next fight?
The man he defeated just last week, Joe Schilling, is currently the No. 1-ranked contender in the GLORY rankings. "Stitch 'em Up" topped Levin in the GLORY 10 tournament final last September, and lost to the Russian in the "Last Man Standing" final, so that knots them up at one win apiece. A trilogy fight between the two would be the first fight that didn't take place in a tournament final, and a title fight that the fans would definitely be interested in seeing.
However, if it were to take place, Schilling's manager, Mike Kogan, said on Twitter recently that he wants to see a "new contract" for his fighter, and that the current deal would "not be enough" for a rematch against Levin.
Levin was quoted in a story on Gloryworldseries.com that he would want the rematch with Schilling to take place in Russia. Perhaps that would be one of the reasons for Kogan wanting to seek a better deal. Regardless, a third fight between the two top middleweights in the division would be an easy sell and heavily anticipated by fans.
The USA vs. Russia angle could be a bit of a stretch, since we are far removed from the Rocky 4/Cold War era, but it would make for a fun lead up to the fight, simply due to the fact that Americans are still pushing for their rightful place among the sports' elite.
"Everything has a price," Kogan said, when speaking with MMAmania.com about Russia.
When asked if negotiations with GLORY would be taking place soon, or if it depended on the rematch with Levin being offered, Kogan replied, "No, it depends on if they want Joe to keep the fans on their feet."
That is certainly something the California fighter has done in GLORY so far.
Schilling has blown the roof off with his performances at both California dates that GLORY has put on; winning the tournament at GLORY 10 after going an extra round in the final against Levin, and at "Last Man Standing," where he handed Simon Marcus his first career loss by knocking him out in the extra frame of their opening round fight, won a rematch with Wayne Barrett by unanimous decision in the semi-finals, and lost a decision in the rematch with Levin in the final.
In his other appearance, a loss to Barrett at GLORY 12 in New York, Schilling fought valiantly after being floored twice early on and knocked Barrett down with a vicious knee in the third round that was part of a late surge that almost turned the tide in the fight.
MMAmania.com will have more news on this matter an any future match ups that come about as soon as they become available. Remember, the turnaround between fights happens much quicker in kickboxing than it does in MMA. For example, both Levin and former welterweight champion Marc de Bonte fought at GLORY 16 on May 3, before fighting at GLORY 17, less than two months later.
Expect to hear about the future matchups of Schilling and Levin relatively soon, whether it's against one another or not.