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Ex-GLORY Kickboxing champ Simon Marcus resumes path toward UFC

Simon Marcus has long owned the nickname “The One” for being that special during his time in the world of kickboxing. If he has it his way, the same reputation will follow him into MMA.

Two-and-a-half years after his successful MMA debut, Marcus (1-0) is finally healthy. His injuries have healed and the gym he owns is in a good place. It’s time for a second go, as he fights Saturday at Unified MMA 57 in Toronto.

“I got things on track, and I’m stepping back in the cage,” Marcus recently told MMA Junkie. “I’ve been wanting to do a couple of the shows, but I didn’t really have a good matchup at the time. Then, again, I had a couple different health issues with the body at the time. So, I took my time to get back in the mix. Now, I feel like I’m fully healed and everything, so it’s all systems go.”

Most of the MMA promotion around Marcus, 37, has centered around that he’s a two-time Glory Kickboxing middleweight champion, who holds a 2016 unanimous decision win over Israel Adesanya.

Despite his age, Marcus is confident the UFC will give him a look, particularly due to his combat sports credentials as a whole.

Three years shy of 40, Marcus said his body has held up well. Sure, there have been injuries, but his responses to them have proven efficient. UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira, who Marcus lost a unanimous decision to in 2018, debuted at 34, after all.

“I want to get a couple more fights under my belt, just to get more comfortable with the rules as well as my skill set on the ground and my wrestling still in development,” Marcus said. “I’m still learning, of course. I haven’t been doing it that long, but I’ve been doing fairly well against guys who have been doing it pretty long.

“My whole thought process is if I can get my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu game up to a level somewhere closer to where my muay Thai and kickboxing is, I’ll really be able to dominate no matter where I go. Right now, I’m still in the developmental stages. A couple more fights, keep working on my skills, and the sky is the limit. Whatever seems to be the biggest opportunity for me is where I’ll be.”

Marcus’ lone MMA fight to date was a technical decision victory over Anton Tokarchuk in December 2021. The fight was 10 pounds above Marcus’ typical weight class during his kickboxing days, so there were a lot of factors he needed to adjust to – all while learning on the job. He still largely dominated and showed a well-rounded attack. That included his grappling, which Marcus has taken great pride in advancing.

“The focus for this camp and months prior has been getting my jitz better and getting my grappling better,” Marcus said. “I’m rolling with some really high-level guys. … I can see I’m able to compete with guys who have been doing it for years, like more than 15 to 20 years, without getting submitted or without getting smashed. I know I’m at a good level and that’s where I’m at now. I’m looking to get to the point where I’m looking to dominate like I’ve done in all my other martial arts.”

Now, with nearly three more years of MMA training under his belt, Marcus aims to gradually make his way to welterweight so as not to be outsized. He sees 2024 as a year of development and 2025 as a year of making international waves once again.

“This year, I’d like to fight at least one more time (after this) before the year is done, minimum,” Marcus said. “After this one, I’ll take some time off just to rest the body and spend some more time with the family. But if I could fight one or maybe two more times before the year is out, that’d be great. Next year, I’m going to make a real run for it and gear up and really try to take on as much as I can next year.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie