Simon Marcus: Jason Wilnis Is Afraid Of Me

Saying two fighters really don’t like each other is one of the oldest cliches in combat sports. But when it comes to GLORY middleweights Simon Marcus (48-4-2) and Jason Wilnis, they really don’t like each other. 

The GLORY 56 weigh-ins were a clear-cut reminder of that.

As the two former middleweight champions squared off for their upcoming showdown on the GLORY 56 Superfight Series, things got a little heated after Wilnis grabbed Marcus by the throat. Marcus shoved him away and the two had to be separated, all while heated words were exchanged (none that are safe to repeat here), accompanied by angry stares and gestures.

“Nothing too bad,” Marcus told FIGHT SPORTS. “Just some fight excitement.”

Marcus, 31, first fought Wilnis back at GLORY 20 in 2015, winning by split decision. In their second encounter at GLORY 33, Wilnis took the title from Marcus after winning via TKO in the third round. And in their third bout at GLORY 40, which took place in April 2017, Marcus regained his title after besting Wilnis by split decision.

Each fighter has expressed their dislike for one another in myriad interviews over the past couple of years. Perhaps none more humorously than at GLORY 37, where Wilnis made his lone title defense in a decision victory over Israel Adesanya. Marcus showed up and sat ringside just to talk trash and heckle Wilnis for the entire fight.

So when did all of the bad blood between the two fighters really start, and why has it continued all this time?

“You know what it is?” Marcus answered. “Jason is just afraid of me, and he acts out of character when he feels intimidated and there’s not much he can do about it. I’m always game to fight and I don’t back down from anybody or accept any disrespect. It tends to lead up to some tension before the fight, but at the end of the day tomorrow, everything will be settled in the ring.”

After winning back the title at GLORY 40, Marcus, now ranked No.2 in the division, dropped the strap to current champion Alex Pereira at GLORY 46. He was supposed to take on Robert Thomas in the semi-finals of a middleweight tournament at GLORY 52, but that fight (and tournament) ended up getting scrapped when Thomas withdrew after suffering a concussion during training. Marcus remained on that card and made quick work of last-minute, overmatched injury replacement Zack Wells.

Marcus said he feels he should’ve already gotten a title shot, and had that tournament taken place at GLORY 52, he was going to “get all those guys out of the way and then get my title, including Jason.” So it seems only fitting that he and Wilnis face off for a fourth time, with the winner likely earning a shot at Pereira next.

“It is fitting that I get to deal with him before I go back and take care of Pereira,” Marcus said. “Even though I’ve already dealt with it a couple of times before, but why not one more.”

Pereira, Marcus says, “is really gaining confidence, especially after getting a ‘W’ over me. He’s been working on his strengths and improving overall.”

“I was far from at my best,” he continued, mentioning he was dealing with an injury (he did not disclose the injury) leading up to that fight. “I’m really looking to get back to a title shot against Pereira and completely show the world who ‘The One’ is. And I can’t wait get back in the ring with Pereira, but tomorrow will be the first step to doing so and taking care of Jason Wilnis.”

He usually travels to Thailand to train with friend and legendary fighter Buakaw Banchamet, but this time Marcus went out to Las Vega, Nev. and worked with Dewey Cooper and Floyd Mayweather Sr. in preparation for his GLORY 56 showdown with Wilnis.

“I’ve said before and I will continue to say it: before just being a fighter, I’m a martial artist,” he said. “I’m always trying to improve. I see where my weaknesses are and I try to work on them. So I don’t think I will ever be set in my ways. As far as there is space to improve I’ll be trying to improve. Even when I’m at the top, if there is still room to improve that’s what I will do. Back to the top we go.”

One of Marcus’ biggest mistakes was fighting Wilnis recklessly back at GLORY 33, which led to him getting knocked down three times and losing the title. With yesterday’s shenanigans at the weigh-ins, how will he keep his cool and not fall into that trap again?

“That was a mistake at the time because I didn’t need to do that at the time to beat Jason,” Marcus explained. “I’m better than Jason. I’ve learned from that mistake and I won’t make that mistake again. I’m a better fighter now. I’ve improved over all. Jason, I don’t know how much he’s improved. I’m not focused on that. I just know I’m better than I was, even than the last time we fought. It’s all about staying focused and keeping my mind on the goal and doing what’s needed to be done in the fight. I have so many weapons and so many tools and a lot of fight IQ and intellect that I can use and I will use. It’s just about staying sharp and staying in the zone while I’m in there.”

And for Marcus, it’s about proving to his rival he’s a far more superior fighter.

“I’m ready. I can’t wait to get into the ring. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. And I’m looking to close out the series vs. Jason and make it very convincing that we are not on the same level.”

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