‘New And Improved’ Kirill Grishenko Plans To Bounce Back Against Kang Ji Won At ONE Fight Night 23

Kirill Grishenko defeats Dustin Joynson by unanimous decision at ONE: NEXTGEN.

Kirill Grishenko is determined to prove he belongs among the best heavyweight MMA athletes in ONE Championship when he returns in U.S. primetime on Friday, July 5. 

The Belarussian star initially earned back-to-back wins in the world’s largest martial arts organization, but after hitting a skid, he’s worked to become a more complete fighter ahead of his key clash with “Mighty Warrior” Kang Ji Won at ONE Fight Night 23 on Prime Video

With plenty of time to level up his all-around skill set, the 32-year-old wants to showcase his evolution against the hard-hitting South Korean at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Excited to get back on the global stage, Grishenko told onefc.com

“After the [loss to] Marcus Almeida, I had a minor leg injury, but we healed up and got back to work. We needed to analyze my mistakes and add some new elements to my style.  

“Now, I’m completely healthy and ready to show the new and improved version of myself. I am ready to put on a great show. I know I have huge potential in MMA, and everything is in my hands.” 

Although his last mixed martial arts outing came in 2022, Grishenko has sought to battle-test the new weapons in his arsenal by competing in other sports. 

He originally came into MMA from a world-class wrestling background, but he’s used his time away to compete in other disciplines and build his confidence in a variety of ranges.

Grishenko explained: 

“I had a fairly long break from professional MMA competition, and it would have been a mistake to jump right back into a fight. My coaching staff and I decided to get a taste of a competitive atmosphere by participating in amateur sports. I competed in grappling, Greco-Roman wrestling, and boxing.  

“While I’ve always felt comfortable in wrestling due to my wrestling background, boxing was a new challenge for me. I participated in the Belarussian Boxing Championship and, to everyone’s surprise, I won it. My coach, Konstantin Makhankov, wasn’t surprised at all.  

“We did this to prove to ourselves once again that I can compete on the striking front with any opponent. It gave me a lot of confidence, which is exactly what I need before my upcoming fight.” 

Grishenko Excited To Test His Skills Against KO Artist Kang 

Both Kirill Grishenko and Kang Ji Won have had mixed fortunes since their promising starts in ONE Championship.  

The heavyweight pair each banked a pair of wins before getting their momentum halted with their first career defeats – albeit against top-flight competition – and they’re both looking to re-establish themselves among the top tier. 

For that reason, this fight has serious implications for their division, and Grishenko welcomes a tough battle that will show where they sit in the pecking order:

“When I was offered the fight with Kang, I was thrilled. He’s a tough guy with excellent striking skills. I consider him a top contender in our division, and this fight won’t be easy. I’m training hard and fired up for this challenge. 

“We started preparing two-and-a-half months before the fight, as soon as we knew the date, so we had more than enough time. Since the opponent is a striker, we are ready to fight in the stand-up, but if the fight goes to the ground, we won’t fail there either.” 

Although he is coming off losses to Marcus Almeida and reigning divisional king Anatoly Malykhin, the Belarusian remains upbeat about his prospects. 

Having taken the time to improve his game, he feels ready to pass difficult assignments and show fans what he already sees in himself: a future ONE Heavyweight MMA World Champion. 

Grishenko added: 

“First and foremost, I want to test myself, overcome all challenges to the maximum, and look back and see a huge and awesome track record behind me. 

“I just love this sport, and I know I’m just starting to open up in it. I’ve been in MMA for only three-and-a-half years, and that’s not much yet.  

“This victory will mark my return, the beginning of my journey to the top. I have a goal to become a champion, and I will definitely achieve it – you’ll see!” 

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