One of the brightest young mixed martial arts talents from South Korea has come to make an impact in ONE Championship by taking out a former ONE Flyweight World Champion.
The Jeonju native recently moved to Singapore to join the elite athletes at Evolve, and he is delighted that he will make his debut on the global stage in his new backyard this Friday, 17 May.
“This is my first fight with ONE and the biggest stage I have had to challenge myself and showcase my skills on,” he says.
“I put myself through a grueling Evolve Fight Team tryout to get myself to this stage and am excited to have this opportunity.”
Kim will come into this main card match with an impressive 9-2 record and a reputation as a finisher.
As a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt, fans may assume the 26-year-old is a submission specialist, but while he has two wins via tapout, it is his striking that has brought more than half of his victories.
However, “Gravity” has not been knocked out in any of his 18 career contests to date, so Kim’s kickboxing will have to be at its sharpest to end the action inside the distance.
At 179 centimeters tall, he is a huge flyweight, and he believes that could be a big advantage in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Though he recognizes how dangerous his upcoming opponent will be, the South Korean is not lacking in confidence – he says his mental strength is helping him to improve in the gym every day and be ready to face Eustaquio.
He also says that he is filling any remaining holes in his game thanks to his world-class coaches and training partners.
“He has power and experience, especially from fighting Adriano Moraes in his previous two fights,” Kim says.
“I need to make use of my reach and height advantage and be ready for my opponent to try and nullify this as part of his own game plan.
“My biggest weakness is dealing with super aggressive fighters, but I am working on that with my World Champion teammates at Evolve.”
Kim cites fellow ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON competitors Amir Khan and Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke as two of his main training partners, so ONE’s leading knockout artist and the Muay Thai icon, respectively, should have been able to offer plenty of wise words to their new colleague.
A victory would be huge for the Evolve representative – not only because it would give him a win against one of the world’s largest martial arts organization’s biggest names, but it would also put him in the running to replace any athlete who cannot continue in the prestigious ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Danny “The King” Kingad’s match with Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s bout with Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada will make up the semifinal line-up of the tournament, but if any of those competitors gets injured, an alternate will step in to fill their spot.
And, because the winner of the World Grand Prix will earn a World Title shot, Kim may get the chance to take a significant step toward achieving one of his primary goals as a mixed martial artist.
“I want to be the ONE Flyweight World Champion and be a good role model, especially to children and teenagers,” he explains.
“I am grateful for the chance to compete in the World Grand Prix [alternate bout] in my first ONE bout. I am planning to make the most of this chance.
“I would gladly face anyone that eventually gives me a chance to contend for the World Championship.”