31-year-old Marc Stevens (21-10) holds a dream similar to many other mixed martial artists: he wants to win a belt in one of the premiere organizations.
“Everybody’s goal is to get to the UFC or Bellator,” he said.
The obvious first step is making it to one of those organizations, a goal that Stevens believes that he can accomplish by the end of the year. And he has a plan.
It starts with his next opponent, Robert Turnquest, whom he’ll fight on May 19 at Titan FC 44 in a welterweight bout.
“I’m hoping a win over Turnquest…I’d love to fight for a Titan title,” Stevens said. “The ultimate goal after every win is to get the call to the big show. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll beat up anybody [Titan FC] wants.”
Stevens praised Titan FC for offering him a solid contract, which he said he had to work hard to get. Now that he’s got it, he plans to use it to benefit not only himself, but his new promoters.
“I’ve been going back and forth with [Titan FC Chief Operating Officer] Lex [McMahon] for awhile,” he said. “It was to the point where I was begging for a fight, and I kind of put him on the spot. He finally caved and he offered me a really nice four-fight contract. I’m going to take care of Titan and give them a bunch of exposure.”
His first chance to do that will come in a couple of weeks opposite Turnquest. Stevens was complimentary towards his next opponent, saying that Turnquest reminded him of himself.
“I have a lot of respect for [Turnquest],” he said. “His [7-3] record doesn’t indicate the type of fighter he is. He’s fought a lot of tough guys on short notice. I really respect that about him. I was the same way.”
That said, Stevens was blunt in predicting how the fight will go down.
“He’s coming off a hard loss [to Gesias Cavalcante]. It’s going to be more of the same. I’m going to put him away.”
There’s only one bell that Stevens said he would worry about: the opening bell.
“The final bell will come when I finish him,” Stevens said.
Stevens said he hopes that with a victory, he’ll get a shot at Titan’s welterweight champion, Jason Jackson. The champion currently does not have a fight lined up.
If Stevens gets a title shot and a victory over Jackson to become the promotion’s new reigning welterweight champion, every win would bolster his cause to make it to the UFC or Bellator. Stevens was actually perilously close to achieving his dream on a pair of occasions.
The Lorraine, New York native actually fought for Bellator once. Back in 2012, Stevens fought Ryan Quinn at Bellator 63 and lost a unanimous decision. He has not fought for the promotion since.
Two years earlier, Stevens was a contestant on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter. After notching an exhibition record of 1-2 on the show, he was not brought into the UFC.
Interestingly, the UFC is currently airing TUF: Redemption, the 25th installment of the reality MMA show featuring ex-TUF contestant welterweights who are being given another crack at maintaining staying-power in the UFC. While Stevens filled out the paperwork and gave slight consideration to going back on the show, he was not disappointed when he was not given the chance.
“I would never want to do another season of The Ultimate Fighter,” Stevens said. “It’s not an enjoyable experience. I’m not butthurt I didn’t get the call. I’d rather keep racking up wins and do it that way.”
Stevens, who said he hopes to fight for another decade, will continue his own path of redemption on May 19. The veteran hopes that one day, his dream will come true. Turnquest is the next obstacle standing in his way.