Kim JangYong faces Mark Striegl for the Pacific Xtreme Combat Featherweight Championship on September 14, 2013. He is eager to add his name to the growing list of Korean Top Team fighters with accolades.
Kim started off his career tentatively in 2006 and was soon fed to the top names in his division in Japan. His fighting style earned him the nickname “The Beast”, he never seems afraid of any opponent and is willing to go toe to toe to prove it. While it makes for exciting fights, it wasn’t always the best for Kim’s record. Then he turned the tide when he entered PXC. He went undefeated in his first year with the promotion, even knocking out Harris Sarmiento in his debut. A setback against Joe Taimanglo gave him something to learn from, and he came back a much smarter fighter against Nate Thorell in his bid for the featherweight title contention.
Now, Kim has got the shot he’s long yearned for. He’ll be facing another rising star in PXC, Mark Striegl. MMA-in-ASIA spoke with Kim on fight week about his career, his next opponent, and his team.
MMA-in-ASIA: You have a gap in your career in 2010, why was that? Why didn’t you fight?
Kim: Just stress from competing so much previous to that year. [laughs] My mind and body needed a rest, and it paid off.
MMA-in-ASIA: When you came back in 2011, you turned your record around. What were you doing differently that helped you start winning?
Kim: I took a good look at my fighting style and reassessed my strengths and weaknesses. I became more cerebral with my fighting. I guess you can say the Beast was reborn!
MMA-in-ASIA: After your fight with Joe Taimanglo, what did you learn and how did you change for your next fight?
Kim: I learned to relax in the beginning of the fight. If I can relax the first few minutes and let my style flow naturally, I can beat anyone.
MMA-in-ASIA: You have two big wins on your record, Keita Nakamura and Harris Sarmiento. Do you think Striegl compares in greatness to those two?
Kim: Those two wins are great for sure, but I treat Mark Striegl as the dangerous opponent he is. He is the biggest threat I have ever faced and I have been training with that motivation in mind. I am not looking anywhere but right at Mark, neither to the past nor the future. Mark is the man I need to beat, so I have just been focusing on him.
MMA-in-ASIA: What is your greatest strong point?
Kim: My strongest point is my well-roundedness. I can take the fight anywhere and win. I can find your weaknesses and destroy you with them.
MMA-in-ASIA: What do you think of Mark’s style?
Kim: He is a good fighter but his style is too simple. I will be looking to hand him his first loss via KO.
MMA-in-ASIA: How are you training to defeat him?
Kim: I’m training every day. I didn’t change anything too much for this fight because I am always prepared for anything that can happen.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who are your training partners for this fight?
Kim: Bang SeungHwan is a very big and strong lightweight fighter and is the former DEEP champion, and is also a southpaw so I have been training a lot with him. Hyungyu Lim is a huge welterweight and a tough UFC veteran and so it was good to move with him as well. Mike Ahn is the Korean ADCC champion and a big lightweight so I trained with him to make sure there are no surprises if the fight hits the canvas. Overall there are many good training partners at KTT and I have worked extensively to get as much time in as I can. There are almost 30 figters so the gym is always busy getting someone ready.
MMA-in-ASIA: What makes KTT fighters stand out, training, teamwork?
Kim: Our dedication. We are training everyday. There is no off season. We eat, live, and breathe training. We love it!
MMA-in-ASIA: How did you feel when HyunGyu won? Does it give you pressure?
Kim: I was extremely happy when he won and ecstatic when he won fight of the night. Seeing him give such a performance motivates me, rather than giving me pressure. I am the team captain, I need to show these kids how it’s done!
MMA-in-ASIA: What is your opinion of the development of MMA across Asia right now?
Kim: MMA all across Asia is blowing up. With more and more fighters competing, there are more hometown heroes and fans. I want to be a part of that wave that takes Asian MMA to a whole new level.
MMA-in-ASIA: Is UFC coming to Asia a positive thing for MMA here?
Kim: I think so. The UFC is the biggest organization in the world and it has name recognition, so maybe it can generate more interest and garner more fans. Anything that helps the MMA scene is good for all involved.
MMA-in-ASIA: How would TUF Japan versus Korea turn out?
Kim: [laughs] That would be interesting! Certainly a rivalry for the ages. Can you call Dana and make it happen?
MMA-in-ASIA: What do you see for your fighting future?
Kim: I am not looking past Mark Striegl. I want to beat him and I want that PXC hardware around my waist. I want to be the PXC Featherweight World Champion
MMA-in-ASIA: What is your entrance song going to be?
Kim: “Dream On” by Aerosmith because winning that belt is my dream. It’s also my coach’s favorite song and I want to make him proud.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who are some of the best fighters in your division now, some of your MMA idols or fighters you admire?
Kim: Jose Aldo, the featherweight king. Hyungyu Lim! [laughs] I’ll show him the power of the captain of KTT!
MMA-in-ASIA: Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Kim: Of course! My parents and my family, my KTT family, the president of SSEDA Mr Sang Woo Kim. And of course, all the fans!