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By: Jason Bent, MMATorch Columnist Name: Dong Hyun Kim
Professional MMA Record: 11-0-1, UFC Welterweight Contender
Biography: Dong Hyun Kim is a 27 year old South Korean fighter who is currently bringing the sport to his homeland after signing with the UFC following a stint in DEEP. Kim began fighting in his native Korea, but due to the miserable pay as well as squalid conditions under which he was training would opt for an early retirement at the ripe age of 23. Upon moving to New Zealand, Kim would take up the art of Judo as a hobby and this would ignite the competitive spark and provoke him to return to Korea and come out of his short retirement. Kim's training took place at Wajyutsu Keisyukai and due to the fact that he was one of the larger fighters in the gym, Kim would become the main sparring partner of current UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami.
Dong Hyun Kim would sign with the DEEP organization and make his debut for the organization on May 24, 2006 against Mitsunori Tanimura. This would be Kim's third overall professional fight but the first two took place on a much smaller stage and under the banner of the Spirit Martial Challenge. Times have changed immensely since those days but Spirit MC is still under the radar to say the least. Kim's debut in DEEP was his first foray into a world of much tougher competition and his debut was a successful one as he dispatched of Tanimura in the 1st round by forcing him to tap to a rear naked choke.
Kim would go on to fight seven more times for the DEEP organization and rack up six straight wins before capping things off with the one fight ruled as a draw on his record, as he fought to a standstill after three rounds with Hidehiko Hasegawa in a rematch of their previous bout. In this previous bout against Hasegawa, Kim reigned victorious by pulling off the win with just three seconds remaining as he scored a TKO victory due to a big slam and subsequent punches. Dong Hyun Kim had become too big for the DEEP organization and was in need of a challenge. At the same time, South Korea needed Kim to venture out and meet those challenges head-on in hopes of bringing that fame back to his homeland in some small way as this sport expanded.
Dong Hyun Kim was originally set to do battle for the WEC as the organization had a contract drafted and expected it to be signed until Kim's management stepped in and pushed for a contract with the UFC instead. The argument was simple in that WEC fights would not be broadcast in South Korea and the UFC in fact would be, and Kim's management stood firm on this notion. The WEC contract was quickly tossed and the "Stun Gun" was on his way to the Octagon.
Dong Hyun Kim made his UFC debut at UFC 84 and was successful in scoring a TKO victory over Jason Tan due to some particularly nasty elbows in the early moments of the third round. The "Stun Gun" had successfully stunned Tan and many fans who imagined he would be exposed against Tan or perhaps fall prey to the "Octagon Shock" which seems to render many great fighters impotent upon their entrance.
Kim has since gone on to defeat Matt Brown at UFC 88 by way of what many seem to feel was a controversial scoring decision, and suffered his first defeat at the hands of Karo Parisyan in their bout on the UFC 94 card. This loss was overturned following the event as Parisyan failed a post-fight drug test due to his having tested positive for an assortment of narcotic painkillers. In many ways this was indeed a saving grace for Kim as he experienced a loss and can now have the opportunity to learn from it, but at the same time he does not have to have his record blemished by defeat.
While he was in fact defeated, it was not what I or many others for that matter would call a dominant one; but questions do in fact remain as he was somehow unable to come up with anything to really pull away from the remarkably impaired Parisyan. The one problem facing Kim is his propensity for blowing up early and then wheezing his way through the remainder of the fight, and he not only needs to have worked on that but must show that he can better pace himself in a fight.
Dong Hyun Kim will get the chance to make a much better impression on UFC fans when he steps into the Octagon on the epic card that is UFC 100 to face Canadian prospect T.J. Grant. This is indeed a tough test for Kim, and at this stage of his career it is exactly what is needed in order for him to be truly evaluated for his talents and no longer viewed simply as a prospect or a work in progress. Kim has much work to do and we will get the chance to see just what he has gotten done when he faces Grant, who is very much the wrong opponent for Kim to be facing in terms of style. While Grant's style may be wrong for Kim it will be up to the "Stun Gun" to show us he can right himself and return to the winner's circle, while showing the form so many have openly expressed he is capable of doing.
Dong Hyun Kim is necessary for the UFC to gain a foothold in the burgeoning market which is South Korea, and it is absolutely necessary for Kim to win in order to accelerate this process. Grant is a tall order but one Kim will need to get past if he truly wishes to be a UFC Welterweight the other fighters will look up to for reasons other than his height.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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