Following his last win over Tetsuya “MMA Fantasista” Yamada in December, the South Korean mixed martial artist said he’d love to square off against Nguyen – and he’ll get his wish at ONE: REVOLUTION on Friday, 24 September.
The exciting clash of strikers is one of the night’s biggest attractions, and Kim can’t wait to test his skills against the featherweight division’s most dominant king of recent years.
“First of all, I think Martin Nguyen is a great fighter and a role model, and I consider him as one of the best,” the Seoul native says.
“He’s a fighter who I respected and enjoyed watching even before I joined ONE Championship, which is why I wanted to fight with him no matter what. He’s already been the World Champion, so I want to beat him, prove myself, and become the best by fighting with the best.”
It’s all love from the 28-year-old South Korean’s side, as he knows “The Situ-Asian” is a legend who won’t shy away from a thrilling battle.
“All my previous opponents were grapplers, but this time, the opponent is a striker. I actually prefer striking, so I think this will be an exciting match between strong hitters,” Kim adds.
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Nguyen became a global sensation when he claimed both the ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Titles with back-to-back knockouts in 2017, and he went on to dominate the featherweight ranks until his defeat to Thanh Le last October.
The Vietnamese-Australian accomplished those feats with a varied arsenal, but concussive punching has always been his biggest asset.
However, “The Fighting God” also owns impressive finishing power – the two fighters have knocked out 16 combined opponents – and he believes his own skill set will reign supreme when they meet in the center of the Circle.
“I knew Martin even before I joined ONE Championship [in 2019], so I know his strengths and weaknesses a lot more than he knows mine. For a long time, I have contemplated on how to beat him, so this time, I am 200 percent confident,” Kim says.
“Martin is good at curved [punches], but I throw linear and curved [strikes]. In my opinion, I think I have more skills in striking. Nguyen has one right hook, but I have much more options than that, so I think I can beat him with ease.”
Kim is a relentless attacker who’s happy to walk through his opponent’s strikes in order to land his own.
On the other side, Nguyen is a counterstriking specialist, and he’ll undoubtedly have something planned to combat “The Fighting God’s” style. Still, that won’t stop the South Korean’s charge, as he believes he can break his rival’s spirit with his relentless pressure.
“I am quite reckless. [I like to] pressure my opponent and drag them through the mud to make it more difficult — which can also be difficult for me, but I tend to enjoy these situations,” Kim says.
“Making my opponent feel cornered and unable to breathe is the kind of competition I go for and enjoy. I will go more for Nguyen’s mind and make him give up.”
That’s a very bold prediction considering the level of opposition “The Situ-Asian” has consistently faced – and beaten – in ONE.
“The Fighting God,” however, is confident in his ability to break down the Aussie warrior, and he knows an emphatic victory over the seasoned campaigner would move him closer to the very top.
“This year, the World Championship title is my goal,” Kim says.
“I feel that if I defeat Martin Nguyen, then I don’t have much left to do to become the World Champion. I felt this was an opportunity, and that’s one of the reasons why I called him out as well.
“I will make sure Martin Nguyen’s chin, temple, and abdomen are the only three parts that I am going for. And with these three parts, I will weaken his mentality by making him faint or roll in pain and give up.”