Korean hot prospect Kim Soo-Chul will be taking on his next opponent, Wagner “Galeto” Campos, at ROAD FC 21 on February 1, 2015. His drive comes equally from past loss and future challenge.
Kim has the distinct history of being on both first cards for ROAD FC in 2010 and ONE FC the following year. At the beginning of his career on home turf, he looked awesome. But a rapid submission to Andrew Leone in PRO FC was a teller. The fight sent the then 19-year old back to the mats, and launched Leone’s career in ROAD FC.
Moving on to ONE FC, Kim faced an even higher caliber of grapplers in Leandro Issa and Gustavo Falciroli, followed by a veteran in ROAD FC, Moon Jae-Hoon, and his young but active record reflected a mere 50/50 win rate.
Then, as if the turbo button was finally pushed, Kim began to rocket. He knocked out all-rounder Shoko Sato, outpointed top-ranked Kevin Belingon, and finished former nemesis Issa with strikes to earn the inaugural ONE FC Bantamweight belt. Suddenly the world seemed very bright for this Korean underdog who’d completely turned his luck around.
After the title fight, Kim’s career came screeching to a halt as he was informed that a shoulder injury would need surgery to repair. After 6 months of rehab, he proved that he was made of tougher stuff than muscle and bone, and got back into the gym ready for his next fight. Meanwhile, Bibano Fernandes has been given the interim title shot and triumphed, so Kim knew what he had to look forward to.
“I only think one thing: about winning.”
Finally, one year later, the ONE FC title unification came. Kim was prepared, and he fought his heart out. He showcased his entire repertoire of strikes, takedowns, ground work and escapes, and he took the world-ranked Brazilian to the final gong of the fifth championship round. Fernandes possessed vastly more experience than Kim, and his steady, persistent game plan won the night.
Kim became even more of a madman in his quest to rise past his own level. Back into his home territory at ROAD FC, he proved his aggressiveness and striking by taking out powerhouse wrestler Motonobu Tezuka in under two minutes. He repeated the dominant performance against grappler Issei Tamura, only this time by feeding the UFC vet a dose of his own medicine with a choke in the middle of the first round.
Now Kim is set to face yet another BJJ black belt when he meets Campos on February 1st. Asia MMA spoke with Kim ahead of his match and discussed his recent motivations in MMA, his next opponent, and what the future holds.
Asia MMA: You fought and destroyed two well-known Japanese fighters in ROAD FC last year, Motonobu by TKO, Issei by choke. How did you get these finishes? Do you have a good strategy, or is it intuition in the cage?
Kim: I had hard time after I lost to Bibiano so I decided never to lose again and to beat any fighter perfectly. So when I took on the cage, I felt I can beat them.
Asia MMA: Why didn’t you fight in ONE FC last year?
Kim: Because they didn’t offer me a match.
Asia MMA: Do you want a title rematch? What will you do differently?
Kim: Of course. I would use my fantastic wrestling and jiujitsu. I have grown up so much more than I was before that fight.
Asia MMA: Your next opponent is also a black belt in BJJ. Have you watched his fights? What is your opinion of him?
Kim: Yes I watched his fights a lot. I’m really focused on him. He is so tough, but I can beat him.
Asia MMA: Do his age and experience influence you?
Kim: Never! In the cage it won’t be worrying for me.
Asia MMA: Is it a good style match up for you?
Kim: I don’t think about the value of a match up, I only think one thing: about winning.
Asia MMA: Who are you training with for this fight?
Kim: My coach Jung Mun-Hong, my TEAM FORCE family, and my girlfriend helps me so much.
Asia MMA: Your coach is the ROAD FC boss, so has got to be busy. How often does he train you?
Kim: Yes, he is a busy man, but when his fighter has a fight he tries to train us 2 to 3 times in a week. I know it’s really hard for him, so we respect him and follow him.
Asia MMA: Who are your teammates at Team Force? Is there any fighter you want people to watch?
Kim: Kil Young-Bok , Kim Seok-Mo, Yoo Jae-Nam, Kwack Jong-Hyun, Park Jae-Sung. I can’t choose only one person to watch because they are all great fighters. Keep watching TEAM FORCE, we show you real spirit!
Asia MMA: Do you consider yourself a grappler or a striker?
Kim: I’m just an MMA fighter, that’s it.
Asia MMA: What’s your favorite technique?
Kim: My favorite skill is any skill I can use to knock out my opponent.
Asia MMA: Who are some fighters or people that influence you?
Kim: Jung Mun-Hong.
Asia MMA: You are still very young. What are your MMA career goals in the next 2 to 3 years?
Kim: Through my fighting to let many people know about my team, TEAM FORCE.
Asia MMA: What is your opinion of MMA in Korea now? Has it grown recently? Is it popular?
Kim: It’s still growing now. ROAD FC and the fighters respect and help each other so I know Korean MMA will be bigger.