clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dustin Jacoby eager for Simon Marcus title shot, says Joe Schilling turned him down at GLORY 27

The No.3-ranked GLORY middleweight is enjoying his GLORY 27 tournament victory and anxiously awaiting his title shot against current champion Simon Marcus, which could happen at GLORY 30 in Los Angeles. "The Hanyak" discussed his tournament victory and revealed he almost stepped out of the tourney to face Joe Schilling.

Karim de la Plaine/GLORY Sports International

After another pair of knockouts at GLORY 27, Dustin Jacoby won the middleweight "Contender" tournament and earned himself another Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy and more importantly, a shot at the GLORY middleweight title.

Jacoby, who until last August was on a five-fight losing streak, has won five straight fights (all by knockout) and two four-man tournaments (GLORY 23 and 27). Whether or not he deserves a shot against GLORY middleweight champion, Simon Marcus is not up for debate. The Colorado-based fighter--who was once a college quarterback until he decided to punch and kick other men for a living--has unequivocally earned it. His second round knockout of Wayne Barrett in the tournament final was the emphatic stamp.

"I can see the hard work paying off," Jacoby told on his current success. He praised his gym Factory X, head coach Mark Montoya and most importantly the results from working hard on strength and conditioning at Landow Performance.

"I'm faster," he continued. "I'm visibly faster right now then I was two years ago. I think that plays one of the biggest roles into my performances and what I've been able to do inside the ring. I feel if I stay on this path that no one can beat me. I feel like I am the biggest, strongest, fastest, athletic, hardest working guy in the division. I got my eyes on the prize and I can't wait to challenge Simon Marcus for the title. I will be ready for it."

About two years ago, just before the GLORY 14 middleweight "Contender" tournament, I sat down in the fighter hotel with Jacoby, who was the lone American on the entire fight card. For all intents and purposes, he was getting thrown to the wolves against competition that heavily outweighed him in the experience department. But "The Hanyak" as he is known was smiling and confident as ever. No one believed in him, but there he was waving the American flag for the promotion then featured on Spike TV. Jacoby would get his head taken off that night by a vicious left hook from Alex Pereira, who won the tournament, but that loss did nothing to halt the belief he had in himself.


The loss to Pereira was his third straight at the time and it followed a heartbreaking split decision loss to Makoto Uehara at GLORY 13 in Japan. Preceding that defeat was a majority decision loss to Danyo Ilunga in the second round of the GLORY 9 eight-man light heavyweight tournament in New York, which was won by Tyrone Spong.

The next time I saw Jacoby was in Denver, CO. for GLORY 16. He wasn't fighting, but he was in attendance and in the middle of his camp for an upcoming fight against Mike Lemaire, which would be a tournament reserve bout for the GLORY "Last Man Standing" eight-man tournament in Los Angeles in June of 2014. Not only was he telling me he was confident he'd beat Lemaire, but he was hoping he'd get a chance in the tournament that was filled with the best middleweights on earth to prove that he belonged among the best despite his record.

Jacoby dropped a decision to Mike Lemaire in Los Angeles to bring his losing streak to four. He was visibly upset that evening after the non-televised bout, due to feeling like the judges got it wrong--and many thought they did-- but he continued to press on. The Factory X-trained fighter went back to mixed martial arts that summer--where he began his combat sports career--going 1-2 before returning to GLORY competition almost a year after the loss to Lemaire to step in on short-notice for an injured Pat Barry against Mourad Bouzidi at GLORY 20 Dubai in April of 2015.

"In my mind I know I am much better than my 4-5 record and yeah, I am, I'm chomping at the bit to get in there and get a win, get a big win," Jacoby told prior to the loss to Bouzidi. "I want to show people that I'm not here to just get beat up, I'm here to win. And I go into every fight with the mindset that I'm going to win. When you are fighting at a top level like this, you have to bring your 'A' game every time."

Jacoby would lose to Bouzidi--another decision--and at that point he was all but written off. The American experiment just wasn't bearing fruit in a sport that had long been dominated by European talent. Yes, he had won the eight-man "Road to GLORY" tournament to earn his GLORY contract in 2013, and he had to face superior competition each time out, but the losses were piling up and it seemed like his days were numbered.

But at GLORY 23 everything changed.

Jacoby entered the four-man "Qualifier" tournament in Las Vegas carrying his paltry 4-6 record and bumps and bruises he accrued along his journey, but this time he was going to face competition that actually possessed the same level of experience as he did. All the lumps he took before that, all the time he put into training, finally paid dividends as he sat down Ariel Sepulveda in the semi-finals and crushed Casey Greene in the final to win the night's tournament.

The tournament victory propelled him up the ladder in the rankings and when GLORY came to Colorado this past October for GLORY 24, Jacoby was resoundingly counted out yet again when he was matched up with perennial top-five contender, Barrett. But when he knocked out the unorthodox New Yorker in the third round, the pundits and experts no longer needed to be convinced: Jacoby had arrived. He was indeed for real.

In case that wasn't convincing enough, in the GLORY 27 middleweight "Contender" tournament, Jacoby--who was now favored by some to win it-- laid out Karl Roberson in the semis and Barrett for a second time in the final to capture his second Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy in only about six months.

Now that two years has passed and he's turned around his kickboxing career, earning a title shot in the process, Jacoby was asked if he had given some thought to all the rough times and losses that came before his recent hot streak.

"I thought about it so much," Jacoby admitted. "Even when I was losing I knew deep down who I was. I believed in who I am, the athlete I am and what I bring to the sport. Everybody slips and falls and gets knocked off their high horse. People slip and fall, but not everybody gets back up and not everybody keeps trucking along. That is what I did. I couldn't listen to the people who were talking negative and I said it before I couldn't listen to the people that were talking positive. You have to take each with a grain of salt. I had people that were saying I was the best ever and obviously that's not true. And I have the same people saying I suck and I'm not going to go anywhere in kickboxing and I've proven that's not true. You just have to stay focused.


"Going into fights I stopped worrying about what my opponent does well or what my opponent brings to the ring and I focus on what I do well and what I bring to the ring. I feel like when I focus on that it's more dangerous than focusing on this guy. I never even watched anything on Karl Roberson. I looked at him as another opponent and looked at me as being better. The guys I fought that night were good I just look at myself as being better. Every guy I lost to in GLORY, I said this before, I truly believe that I can go and avenge every single loss I had in GLORY and I would come out on top. I'm eager to maybe one day prove that. I hope I get the chance at these guys who beat me early on. I'd love to fight them again. I'd love to take back what I gave them, get a piece of me back."

Dustin Jacoby

(Photo credit: James Law/GLORY Sports International"

Tournaments are often tricky for fighters because they have to carry over their bumps and bruises from the first fight into the second, and depending on what they are, parts of their game can be hindered. Jacoby looked great against Roberson--who replaced his original opponent, Lemaire--but he wouldn't be 100 percent for the final. Roberson had "crazy power," he said, and the high kicks he had blocked banged up his forearms quite a bit. Had he been caught with him he said, "my night was over."

"That kid was good," he continued, praising Roberson. "I was a little banged up after the fight. My forearms, I kicked him a few times and my feet and shins were sore. There was not much time at all to recover from that fight to Wayne Barrett. They were telling us we got into the back, finally after getting checked by the doctors and getting cleared to go into the next round, we got into the locker room they told us you got about 10 to 15 minutes. I said, ‘shit I got to get this ice off because I was getting cold.' They said five more minutes. So we kept the ice on and the next thing you know I'm getting up and I'm stiff as a board. I had to start getting loose and getting ready because we were going back out there. Right before we were going out there I started getting loose again with coach and started feeling better."

But early on in the final after he had a kick checked by Barrett an old injury reared its ugly head, and it scared him quite a bit.

"It’s a past injury, nothing too serious," he explained. "But once I bruised it up against Roberson, I did it again against Wayne Barrett and when I put my leg down I could feel my face instantly go pale white and kind of bead up because I thought that I broke something in my leg. You can tell in that first round I wasn’t moving quite as well from it. It was really bothering me."

Barrett has a frustrating style, and Jacoby was giving chase to him several times early on, but once he knocked him down in the first round, his confidence was soaring.

"Absolutely," he said. "When I dropped him that first time in the first round I was real comfortable. There was never a point in the fight… I thought I was winning the entire time, the entire night. I thought I won every round. I just had to settle down a little bit and not chase him so much. But it was a relief to get that drop at the end of the first round and then I knew it was just a matter of time I was up with the drop. I know in a championship fight you have to drop him three times. I was confident, even with my leg being injured. Not making any excuse. That is 100 percent the truth. It was really bothering me. I really thought I did something serious. I’m really glad I was able to capitalize on that. I hit him with a good shot in the second round that made him not want to come out. It was awesome. It was a big sense of relief at that moment."

In the third round, Jacoby dropped Barrett for a final time, and similar to his knockout over the top-five contender at GLORY 24, it once again looked like he'd be able to beat the count, but he simply did not want to continue anymore.

Jacoby agrees wholeheartedly with that assessment.

"That is what it looked like," he concurred. "Honestly I think that’s what it was. I have a lot of respect for Wayne. I just think he felt my power in Denver. I came into the night with a 86 percent knockout rate. There is not a guy in the world I feel I can’t knock out. I just have that natural power. Now you add that strength and conditioning to it and the proper technique and those knockouts are going to continue to come. I think with Wayne that he felt that power a couple of times and after that second one I don’t think he wanted any more."


Once all was said and done and Jacoby had hoisted his second Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy, he headed to the back for obligatory post-fight medicals and received even more praise, this time the message was delivered to him by his brother, who had a private conversation with Barrett after the tournament final ended.

"My brother told me—I didn’t hear this—but he said Wayne said to him and he was as serious as can be he said, ‘I fought all the top five guys in the world," Jacoby said. "I fought the best there is and nobody is going to beat your brother at 187 pounds. Please ask him if he will move back up to 209.’ My brother got a little chuckle from it, but he said when he was talking to Wayne there was no joking from Wayne. He was 100 percent serious. I truly believe that. If I stay on the right path I don't believe there is anybody in the world that can beat me at 187 pounds. I'm going to be setting out to prove that with each fight."

GLORY 30 has been announced for May 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, but Jacoby has not yet been confirmed for the fight card, but the No.3-ranked GLORY middleweight suspects he will matched up against the champion when the lineup is made official.

"There has been a little bit of talk, but nothing guaranteed," he said. "I can't wait to get confirmation. You know how the fight game is. It changes at the drop of a dime. I never know who I"m going to fight on fight night."

Jacoby isn't exaggerating either. He went from fighting Lemaire to facing Roberson just under two weeks before GLORY 27 because Lemaire was pulled from the tournament to face Joe Schilling in the Superfight Series. It turns out, Jacoby was offered the Schilling fight first and gladly accepted.

"They offered me to fight Schilling that night and I accepted and he turned it down," Jacoby revealed. "I don't know. It pisses me off because I accepted and he rejected, which is fine, you know. GLORY told me to keep that off social media.That's fine. I don't have to tell anybody. I don't have to tell the world that this guy is scared to fight me. Then I caught wind that he is on social media saying that I turned down a fight with him and they came back to me and offered me Matt Baker for the opening round and that I said no. That is when my blood started boiling because I was never… I was offered Joe Schilling almost two, two and a half, almost three weeks before the fight. We accepted. I didn't hear anything for a couple days.

"They came back and said Schilling refused to fight you you're knew opponent is Karl Roberson. They never said one thing about Matt Baker, not one thing at all. That was never mentioned. It's obvious, I've never turned down a fight. I've never… I fought Mourad Bouzidi on two weeks notice. I fought the top guys. I don't want to disrespect Matt Baker in any way because I don't know the guy. I fought on the same card as him in Vegas and I'm not going to sit here and say I'm not scared of him and blah, blah, blah. He was never offered to me and then when I find out Joe Schilling was talking crap and saying I turned him down and Matt Baker down that really pissed me off."


Jacoby won the tournament and earned a title shot against Marcus, but said he was 100 percent fine with stepping out of that to face Schilling instead. GLORY would've sweetened the pot, he would've had one fight that evening instead of two, and he thinks he can end "Stitch 'em Up's" night inside the distance.

"They offered me more show money and I gladly accepted," Jacoby admitted. "Everything was working out fine, not to mention it is only one fight on the night as opposed to two and it's the number one guy in the world and I was thrilled to take him out. I would love nothing more than to knock out Joe Schilling because I guarantee you I would. Obviously, he doesn't want any of it. I'm not going to sit here and talk smack on the guy. I respect Joe's fighting style. He is a good fighter and from what I've seen he's not scared to fight people, but for whatever reason he turned that fight down. So don't go out and say I turned anything down."

That fight never materialized and between Schilling having only one fight left with GLORY and Jacoby likely to fight Marcus for the title next, "The Hanyak" gave his assessment on his upcoming title bout against "Bad Bwoy," who is now 43-2-2 overall and 3-1-1 in GLORY competition.

"I think first and foremost Simon is an aggressive fighter," Jacoby explained. "My two things with Simon is I think that he is aggressive and he is durable. If you watch the way I've been fighting lately I'm much bigger and much longer than Simon is. And I believe the game plan is to keep him at the end of my punches and kicks. I use my range very well. It's something we work on every day. Same with those fights this weekend, those guys… I do a good job of blocking the punches and I do a good job of keeping them at the end of my punches. I think I match up really well with him. I think that I just stay long and I keep him at the end of my stuff and I have enough power, I don't care who it is I can knock out a heavyweight. Obviously when I go in a fight and you ask me how I think I'm going to win I think I'm going to win by knockout and my record states that, my past experience states that and I see this fight as being no different."

Jacoby credits his relentless hard work and believe in his abilities, as well as his coaching staff at Factory X for all the success in his kickboxing career, but as the saying goes: behind every strong man is a stronger woman and for him that is his wife Kahla.

"She has believed in me since day one. She is a 40-fight veteran herself. I've had 10 amateur fights and I've had 30 pro fights now. We started dating March 2nd eight years ago. I had my first amateur fight just a few months later. I was still in college playing football. She had never seen me fight before. That night she was a nervous wreck, almost in tears she didn't know what to expect. Here we are 40 fights later and I couldn't have done any of them without her or the belief that she has in me and the support and everything that she does. I told her 'I want you there with me for the entire ride.' To be able to make a career out of it and travel to these other countries and places that I would never be able to go to if it wasn't for fighting and what it has done for me and to be able to bring my wife along with me and let her enjoy the ride too and build these memories together it's priceless man, it means a lot to me, more than anything."

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania