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Athlete Spotlight | Marcus Phelan

Posted by Danny O'Donnell on
Athlete Spotlight | Marcus Phelan

Marcus has been with us many years as one of the key athletes on the sponsorship team. Training out of ECJJ in Dublin, Marcus has risen through the ranks to become one of the most respected black belt competitors on the circuit in Europe. Extremely talented with an exciting modern style of jiu jitsu and being an all around awesome person, we are really proud to have Marcus with us. We took a few minutes to check in with Marcus recently, have a look and learn more about this top Irish jiu jitsu black belt.

Hey Marcus, Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. What is new with you? How is training? When is the next competition?

Well I’m back to competing on a regular schedule, switching between Gi & Nogi a lot so trying to balance my training for that. Main focus is ADCC trials in Poland May 7th then I’ll focus on Gi for Worlds 2022 in LA. Just need to get the last ranking points by winning Gold at IBJJF Dublin Open.

Jiu Jitsu in Ireland has been around for awhile now but, when you got started it was still pretty new. What was that like getting started out in Jiu Jitsu in a place where most people had never heard of it

Yeah it was definitely difficult back then to explain to people what we were actually doing. The scene was very small and you knew everyone from purple belt and up on the Irish scene as there were so few. It was an exciting time though as you felt so much potential for growth and it was moving so fast.

marcus chilling betweenr ounds

How did you hear about Jiu Jitsu and what made you decide to dedicate your time to learning, training and competing in Jiu Jitsu.

I was just a fan of the UFC  at the time and we just found Jiu Jitsu through that. Would always mess around grappling with family & friends who liked UFC too. Then I enjoyed it so much I had to find a class. I was always consistent and competed already in my first two months training. Once I got my blue belt I really started to train a lot more and made it my main focus every day to improve. Started to set some bigger goals for competing from there and I haven’t stopped since!

You are heading into your third year at the black belt level, how has it been competing at the highest level? What has been the biggest difference or biggest surprise competing at the black belt level?

Honestly I don’t feel that much difference because a lot of the guys winning at black belt in my division are the same guys that were in my divisions at the lower belts. I’ve also trained a lot with top black belts and great guys in my division etc. over the years so I know the level. The pacing and strategy can be more calculated though with the top black belts and their in-match decision making is so sharp. You can’t make any mistakes.

What has been your most memorable moment at Black Belt?

I had the best feeling when I won the IBJJF Berlin open December 2020 just before covid as it was my last chance to qualify for Europeans 2021 and I needed Gold in a tough bracket. There were a bunch of good guys trying to do the same and I  had 3 hard fights. Was proud I could get it done under pressure.

Is there another competitor that you are looking forward to competing against?

In NoGi I’m looking for any of the top guys in 66. Making the cut for trials in May 😅 Ashley Williams already won so I’d like a match with him. In the gi I want to go against Isaac Doederlein as he beat me at Europeans but I think I can do much better.

marucs grappling

With the year just starting, what are the big plans and goals for the year?

I’m just happy to be back competing regularly after a shitty few years. I really appreciate it more than ever and the focus it brings to my training & life in general. Main goal would be ADCC but if it doesn’t happen I’ll learn from and keep improving my skills for the next one.

Anything you would like to add?

Thanks Progress JJ for all the support over the years. Really great guys, support and promoting their athletes and pay close attention to what’s happening in the scene. Always the most stylish brand constantly bringing out new gear for us to look good! Appreciate them a lot.

Thanks to Marcus for being such a legend! Thank you as well for checking out the blog and supporting Progress JJ as we work towards our mission of making the world a better place through the movement of jiu jitsu

-Team Progress Jiu Jitsu

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