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GLORY 30's Simon Marcus says his title reign will be a long one: 'You can look forward to years of domination'

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James Law/GLORY Sports International

It goes without saying that the ending of the GLORY 27 main event between Simon Marcus and Artem Levin was among the oddest in combat sports history, and certainly one of the strangest as far as kickboxing is concerned.

Levin—who is known for being a notorious holder—got docked a point for the second time in the fight during the third round and proceeded to quit on the spot, and walked out of the ring in truly bizarre fashion.

Marcus became the new GLORY middleweight champion, but was he shocked to see Levin abruptly walk out of the ring?

"Nope, I didn't feel like at all,"Marcus told "To be perfectly honest with you I could feel during the fight. Watching the fight and the fight I was in feels like two different things. Watching the fight I could see we were going back and forth with certain exchanges and it looked a little bit close. Being in the fight I felt like I was dominating him. I could see his will breaking. I could see him getting frustrated. I could see him close to his breaking point, so it wasn't a surprise that he didn't want to continue any more. I could see and feel it on him long before he left the ring."

Method of victory is not important to Marcus, who is now 2-0-1 against Levin all time. However, the Canadian-Jamaican did state that Levin's exit from the ring was more a result of what he was doing rather than being penalized by referee Al Wichgers.

"I don't have a preference for what weapons I use; I don't have a preference in what style I use and I don't have a preference in how I win," said Marcus, who defends his title against Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 30. "I'll take a mental win over a physical win or a spiritual win over a mental win. It doesn't matter to me. It was all the same to me. A win is a win and I feel I beat him regardless. He walked away--not because of what the ref was doing--but because he couldn't' win that fight."

The middleweight champion's road to the title didn't come without some bumps in the road. His GLORY debut came to a screeching halt at the end of a Joe Schilling right hand, which handed him his first career defeat. From there he took two fights in China and suffered a technical knockout loss where he was knocked down four times. The discussion among pundits was that Marcus hadn't made the successful transition from muay thai to kickboxing and most were dismissing his chances at moving back up the ladder in the division.

That all changed, of course, when "Bad Bwoy" defeated Wayne Barrett and Jason Wilnis in the middleweight "Contender" tournament at GLORY 20 Dubai and fought then champion Artem Levin to a draw at GLORY 21. Many had Marcus winning that bout against Levin, but one thing was clear: he'd overcome his struggles, made the necessary adjustments to implement his game and skill set for GLORY competition, and became among the best in the sport.

So when GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin and Head of Talent Operations Cor Hemmers placed the middleweight title around his waist, it was a major moment in his life filled with emotion.

"Wow, that was unreal," Marcus explained. "I mean, it was something that I really, really felt I worked for and earned and I felt that moment had to happen. It's very difficult to put into words. It's something that I visualized and was waiting for  long time and for that moment to actually come to fruition was very gratifying. Knowing what I put my hard work and my heart and my desire towards I was able to accomplish one more time--not only in muai thai, being a traditional muay thai fighter--but in another sport now, kickboxing, amongst the best in the world on the biggest stage in the world. I only felt it was proper for me to be the champion on the biggest stage because that's how I feel."

He continued on describing the feeling: "So it was a feeling like ... It was just a dream come true. If anyone can imagine what their dream is and what they love to do and what it would be like accomplishing that, that is what it felt like for me. A little bit surreal, but I really enjoyed every moment leading up to it and every moment after it as well."

The level of any athlete's resolve--especially in combat sports--is usually always measured in their ability to handle adversity. How will they come back after defeat? Will they be the same after a brutal knockout, or will they be forever changed? Or will they shake off the cobwebs, dust themselves off, get back to work and make the climb back to the top to prove they belong?

For GLORY's new middleweight king, it was always the latter.

"There's two kinds of fighters," Marcus began to explain. "There's more than two kinds, but there's two kinds of categories that I'm speaking of and one is you have very skillful fighters that are good at fighting due to their practice, due to their coaching, due to their work ethic, due to many things. But when you see those kinds of fighters get in dangerous situations in the ring or get hurt or fall down, you see their true character exposed and they are unable to come back from that. Then you have the real champion that I like to model myself as, which is regardless of the situation or what is put in front of you, the circumstance of what happens, you are always going to find a way to fight back and make it to the top and not lose confidence in yourself. So, that was just a perfect example of how someone could do that."

Marcus, 29, enjoyed some time with longtime girlfriend Nakeeta and their two children Zion and Zaniah, but was back in the gym soon enough to prepare for his first title defense against Jacoby. Marcus left Ajahn Suchart--who was his trainer for many years--prior to his last fight because he sought some changes in his routine. Now he is at New Energy Muay Thai, which is still in Toronto where he resides and in his corner is his good friend Howard Wright, and of course, his very vocal cousin Roger, whose energy and passion has been captured during several GLORY broadcasts.

As for his opponent, Marcus said he's "most definitely" earned a shot at the middleweight strap and that is due to the GLORY tournament system, which he was very complimentary of.

"GLORY has one of the best systems I've ever seen in terms of fighters earning their shot at the title, which is the tournament," said Marcus. "So he won the 'Qualifier' tournament. He won the 'Contender' tournament and earned his title shot fair and square. I'm happy to defend the belt against him and happy to show him what it means to be a champion."

Jacoby is known for his dangerous power, as evidenced by his five-fight knockout streak. However, Marcus says he's not worried about "The Hanyak's" ability to put his opponents away in short order and is, in fact, looking forward to the challenge.

"I mean, I've seen him knock guys out, but I haven't seen him knock a guy out that is really fighting back," said Marcus. "I've seen him more overwhelm guys with his physicality, his size and aggression. Most of the guys, if not all the guys he's knocked out in the past five fights or what not, I feel they are not top-tier guys. They haven't brought an 'A' game like a guy like myself will. What stands out the most to me is that he is a big, strong, aggressive guy and really and truly I love to fight those type of guys. That's my kind of fight. I love that. I love when guys bring it to me. I'm usually the aggressor. I'm usually the one looking to turn it into a fight because I like to fight, it's exciting. That's what I love. When a guy is willingly engaging that is beautiful for me."

Marcus, who has 24 career victories by way of knockout, explained why his experience will be a key factor against Jacoby in the GLORY 30 main event, which takes place Friday night (May 13, 2016) in Citizens Business Bank Arena.

"The advantage for me is that I've fought many guys that bigger than him, his size and bigger, hard hitters, knockout power, heavyweight guys that I've fought earlier in my career," he said. "It won't be anything that I've never experienced before. I've fought many guys who can knock you out with one shot. Even with all the guys I've seen Jacoby fight, I've seen him hit them with great shots, but not put them away with just one shot and mostly it's due to overwhelming his opponent and them not wanting to fight back, which isn't going to happen in this case."

As for the rest of the division, the GLORY middleweight champion had a specific message for all comers vying for a shot at his title:

"Whose ever ready to step up to the plate I'm ready to defend it.  I'm just looking to hold my throne as long as possible and keep doing what I'm doing and I truly believe that there is no one in the world and no one in my weight class that is on my level. The thing is in the sport of kickboxing I'm just continuing to get better and better and that is what everyone is going to see from me each fight. You can look forward to years of domination."