Simon Marcus (45-3-2), former GLORY middleweight champion, was looking fantastic during the opening round of the main event of the GLORY 33 Superfight Series against Jason Wilnis. But things took a change for the worse rather quickly in the second round.

After getting clipped with a punch in the corner with a little under 20 seconds in the round, Marcus began clowning around in the corner with his hands down. While he was continuing to bob and weave, referee Jason Greskiewicz inexplicably began to issue a count, indicating a knockdown.

It was a stunning turn of events and from that point, Marcus was completely off his game. Wilnis took advantage Marcus being too aggressive at the start of the very next round and scored three knockdowns to take the title off of him via TKO.

“It definitely threw me off because, you know, watching the fight again and even replaying it in my head, going into the third round I started as if I was behind,” Marcus told MMA Plus recently, recalling the controversial second-round knockdown.

“I started fighting as if I was down and I was trying to knock Wilnis out or get a knockdown to even up, when I was really winning the fight anyway. Everything I was doing was working up until that point. If I had continued to do what I was doing I would’ve been alright. I kind of mentally fell down and mentally started overexposing myself, kind of throwing power shots, leaving myself open and that is what, in turn, led to the knockdown and the stoppage.”

But why did he start clowning around in the first place?

“When you are in the ring there is a lot of different ways to beat an opponent,” he explained. “Sometimes your opponent is bringing his ‘A’ game and it’s really not affecting you. In the moment I was trying to basically show him that ‘you aren’t really affecting me even though you are trying your hardest.’ I didn’t do the best job at that in terms of leaving myself exposed and leaving my hands completely down. It’s something I learned from and that probably won’t happen again.”

Marcus, 30, will have his chance at redemption when the two meet at GLORY 40 in Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday April 29. The fight will mark the third meeting for the two middleweights. Marcus won their first encounter by split decision in the “Contender” tournament final at GLORY 20 back in 2015. And according to him, we will not see a repeat of what went down at GLORY 33 this past September.

“No, it ain’t going to go down like that, that’s for sure,” said Marcus. “I’m the better fighter than Wilnis. To be honest, I gave Wilnis a puncher’s chance by f***ing around and losing my focus during the fight. Me not losing my focus, staying on point and just beating him down–how I’ve done in the first fight we had and the second one until the knockdown–you can count on Wilnis getting damaged pretty bad.”

The former middleweight champion was in attendance at The Forum in Los Angeles, Calif. at GLORY 37 when Wilnis defended his title against Israel Adesanya. And he was exactly watching quietly while twiddling his thumbs either. Marcus was talking all kinds of trash and heckling Wilnis throughout the champion’s unanimous decision victory.

“To be honest, I was just having fun,” said Marcus, who has been training in Thailand for the last few weeks with renowned fighter, Buakaw Banchamet. “Back home at my old home gym we used to have fights all the time. We’d have fun. Talk during the fights. Call what we see. Whoever won that fight was going to have to give up the belt to me anyway, so I just decided to voice my opinions.”

Since losing the title to Wilnis last September, Marcus has won two straight fights. At GLORY 34 he defeated Dustin Jacoby via TKO after breaking Jacoby’s arm in the opening round with a kick. In December, Marcus picked up another TKO victory, this time over Wang Shaohua for the Wu Fight promotion in Foshan, China. “I fight as much as I can whenever I can,” said Marcus. “GLORY didn’t have anything on the list for me at the time. China had something to offer. I have a huge following there and I always love to fight in China when I can.”

With the chance to reclaim the title off of Wilnis in he sights, Marcus is completely dialed in on the task at hand, and by traveling to Bangkok, he’s only heightened his focus.

“If I can get out here once a year, and I have a big fight that I really just need to get out and focus on–day and night training with no distractions, no driving to the gym, no running around and doing groceries and stuff like that … Just sleeping in the gym, training–that’s what I do,” he said. “So far it’s worked. Every time I’ve come out here I’ve walked away with a ‘W.’ So we are going to keep that streak going in 2017.”

Marcus will being drawing some inspiration from his friend Bill Goldberg, who recently returned to WWE and appeared at WrestleMania 33. “He’s an icon and an inspiration for many, including myself,” Marcus said. “He lost the title, but his legacy will live on forever.”

The No.1-ranked GLORY middleweight contender was a guest of Goldberg and sat in the front row at Monday Night Raw when the legendary wrestler made his triumphant return last October.

“That was a dream come true,” Marcus said. “To even be friends with Goldberg is like a dream come true because as a kid I used to look up to him. I used to idolize wrestling. Now as an adult in my profession, he looks up to me, he respects what I do. That’s really a blessing to see that turn around in the way it did.”

Now he’s looking to storm out to the GLORY ring like Goldberg’s ‘memorable march out to the squared circle, and win the middleweight title back from the man who took it from him.

“It’s my belt so I just got to go take it [back]. I want it back because it belongs to me. I feel I have to step in the ring as myself. I have to step in the ring as the best. That’s who I am and that’s who I’ve been. I’m not really worried about Jason Wilnis or any of that other stuff and everything that goes with it. Right now I’m worried about stepping into the ring focused, doing what I have to in the moment and being on point. I’m sure I will walk away with the title when I do that.”