So much has happened in Soo Chul Kim‘s life in the last twelve months that it is easy to forget the Korean is still only 20 years old. He has his best years as a fighter ahead of him but he also has plenty of experience under his belt, something which he feels wasn’t the case when he made his ONE FC debut.
“I have already fought five times before I signed for ONE FC but I was really only a beginner at MMA. I have learned a lot in the last year, I am a completely different fighter now,” said Kim in an interview with Fighters.com.
Kim’s learning curve has certainly been a steep one. After losing a close decision to top Brazilian bantamweight Leandro Issa, ONE FC threw him in with Gustavo Falciroli, who like Issa was a BJJ black belt with more than twice as many fights as the Korean.
He got submitted in the opening round and for Kim this was an important lesson and one which marked a turning point for him, admitting, “Before that fight I was very confident in all aspects of my MMA game and that is why I went for a takedown, but I should have used my stand up. I realized after that in MMA it is not enough to have good skills, you also need to have the right game plan.”
Despite his youth Kim has already fought the best part of 20 rounds against nine different opponents and he believes that experience made the difference in his most recent win, against a veteran opponent.
“Shoko Sato had a lot of fights for Pancrase and Sengoku so I knew he would be strong,” he explained. “At the end of the third round it was a Draw but in the extra round I was able to cut him very badly and the fight was stopped.”
That win has not only given Kim immense confidence it also proved conclusively that he has emerged as a better fighter than the one who first set foot in the ONE FC cage last September. He will get a chance to show how much he has improved when he takes on Kevin Belingon at ONE FC: Pride of a Nation on August 3t.
It is the biggest MMA event to ever be held in the Philippines and, being Filipino himself, Belingon will have the support of the entire crowd behind him. For Kim this is exactly the opportunity he has been waiting for to show the world what he is capable of.
“This is a big fight and I am very confident I can win. I have learned from my losses and I know I am a better fighter than Belingon, I have fought a lot of fighters who are better than him and I don’t think he can do anything that I have not seen before and will not be ready for,” he stated.
The Road FC veteran knows that he is fighting for his place on the ONE FC roster and, with his back against the wall, he thinks it will be do or die at the Araneta Coliseum.
“I can’t lose this fight. I have to win. This is the most important fight of my life because I have to show that I am good enough to be a ONE FC fighter. I am going to do anything I need to in order to win, it does not matter what happens in the fight all I am thinking about is winning and I have to do that. I will do that.”
PHOTO CREDIT – ONE FC