Dae Hwan Kim Plots The Perfect Start To His Flyweight Career

“Ottogi” Dae Hwan Kim is relishing the chance to kick off his campaign as a flyweight by taking out one of the division’s most exciting competitors.

On 13 October, the South Korean star will face Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu at ONE: CENTURY PART I at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

Kim is one of his nation’s leading mixed martial artists on the global stage, and he fell just short of claiming the gold up at bantamweight in 2014.

Dae Hwan Kim knocks out Ayideng Jumayi

Now, he believes he has what it takes to reach the top of his new weight class quickly, and the best way to do that will be to get an impressive win at the biggest event in martial arts history.

That is why he plans to start the match by coming out with all guns blazing.

“I’m a striker, and I intend to use my skill set to gain an advantage early on in the match,” Kim says.

“I intend to put on a bold performance with aggressive strikes that deny my opponent a chance to take the lead.”

However, the man from Seoul is under no illusion that he will be able to win easily against a dangerous finisher.

He has a lot of respect for his opponent, who has earned all but one of his 11 wins by knockout – including his brilliant first-round stoppage of former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio in August.

“I think Wakamatsu is top-notch when it comes to his striking skills,” Kim says.

“His in-out stepping and one-two straight punches are quite impressive.”

But the Kukje Gym representative is determined to have his hand raised in Tokyo, and he is confident he has the heart and the skill to leave Tokyo with his hand raised.

His nickname refers to a roly-poly doll that cannot be knocked down, so he expects to be able to handle Wakamatsu’s best shots, and if he gets in a tough spot, he has the well-rounded skill set to change things up and pursue a finish with his grappling.

“If I’m pinned down by a striker, I’m not worried when it comes to carrying myself on the ground,” Kim says.

Kim is also not concerned about the fact he will compete in the morning. ONE: CENTURY will be a unique, two-card event, which means PART I will begin at 9am.

That is no problem for a man who usually rises early to train while the day is young before he turns his attention to coaching his students in the afternoon.

“Many athletes run in the morning and start their main training session in the afternoon, but I’ve been training in the morning for years,” he says.

South Korean martial arts star Dae Hwan Kim kicks Yusup Saadulaev

Similarly, “Ottogi” appears unfazed by facing his rival in his hometown. In fact, that could work to his advantage. 

“For me, competing without a home ground advantage makes me focus better on the match,” Kim adds.

The 32-year-old has his sights fixed on “Little Piranha,” but that has not stopped him from dreaming about what the future could bring if he wins in Japan.

A victory against Wakamatsu will propel him to more high-profile matches, and there is one man he wants to face more than any other to prove his credentials – someone that will enter the Circle not long after Kim has left it.

“I want to dominate the flyweight division and get a chance to face Demetrious Johnson and excel even further,” he says.

Read more: Top 10 Submissions From The Stars Of ONE: CENTURY PART I

  • Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
  • Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
  • Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
  • Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
  • Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
  • Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST

ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.

The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.