One this coming September 16th, ROAD FC is holding Beat Down, its ninth event, in the city of Wonju outside Seoul, South Korea. The event will be live streamed through Sherdog – a breakthrough for Korean MMA to be shared with the world. Along with some of the fantastic staple fighters of the ROAD FC promotion, Ikuhisa “Minowaman” and Melvin Manhoef are on the card.
Nam YuiChul, one of the fighters in the Lightweight Tournament, is a polarizing figure on the Asian MMA scene. His wars in Legend FC have been against the toughest opponents in the promotion, while at home in Korea he is undefeated. He’s known as a tough guy and he doesn’t take his losses lightly. Recently, Nam gave an interview that explained a bit more about why he is so passionate about MMA. This interview was originally published in Korean here in the premiere Korean MMA news site MFight, and translated by Sherdog user Hufusopem in the Worldwide MMA Discussion thread.
ROAD FC 009 LW TOURNAMENT
Nam Yui Chul vs. Masahiro Toryu
Kim Chang Hyun vs. Takasuke Kume
Kim Seok Mo vs. Vuyisile Colossa
Lee Yong Jae vs. Kim Won Gi
It’s been six months since your last fight. What have you been doing in that period of time?
I have fought 5 timed in a row in a very short span of time so I felt I deserved a bit of a vacation. Also because the Olympics delayed the next ROAD FC event, I have gotten plenty of rest in preparation for my next fight. I have completely revamped my training and I almost feel like this is a new start.
I feel you are really going to go for it in this tournament because you lost in your bid to become the LFC champion.
There hasn’t been a LW tournament in Korea in a long time and I do feel this is my opportunity to see what my level is. People in Korea know I am one of the elite LWs but I have to prove this once again. Recently I have been competing overseas because of a lack of a local MMA scene but this year I plan on concentrating mostly on ROAD FC, especially this tournament.
In the past you have made your reputation in the KPW, Spirit MC Interleague, Spirit MC WW Grand Prix and other tournaments. Because this is also a tournament formant, do you feel being crowned the Tourney Winner will be even more meaningful?
Honestly, I am not even thinking like that. I simply want to increase my reputation on the biggest MMA stage in Korea. When I won the Spirit MC title I could not defend it for very long, so I have always had regrets in that aspect. This time I will defend it for a long time.
It has been a long time since the Spirit MC tournament. What do you feel will be different about this tournament?
Back than it was all local Korean fighters, but this time ROAD FC has brought in fighters from ONE FC, PANCRASE, ETC. They have brought some of the strongest fighters representing Asia. So in that aspect I feel this tournament has a bit more importance and significance than previous tourneys. Aslo this time it will be in a cage and not a ring. It will be a new feeling.
Presently it seems the LW division is not as popular in Korea. What do you think?
Well because of fighters either retiring or going to the army, there is not a good storyline for the LW division. And adding to that, the loss of some local MMA leagues also contributing to a loss of active fighters. It is a bit disappointing that the popularity of the LW division didn’t connect like before. But the LW division in Korea, just like before is one of most stacked and competitive divisions. I hope this tournament and the fighters participating in it replace the popularity that both A Sol Kwon and Kwang Hee Lee had for the LW division.
You are fighting Toryu Masahiro , have you analyzed him yet?
I have seen a bit of tape, he is a good striker with good kicks. He has a pretty high KO percentage. Also he is big physically having dropped to LW all the way from MW. Of course I am also going for a KO victory. And seeing how the fight goes I also plan on using some ground and pound.
You are not that big for a Lightweight. If you are not the stronger fighter, it almost doesn’t seem like Nam Yui Chul style. How will you handle Toryu’s size?
I already have experience with fighting bigger foreign fighters so I am not too worried about that. Technique and strategy is the most important, not to mention I don’t think Toryu is even big enough to really cause me any physical problems.
You must feel responsibility to win because the MW Champion is a Japanese fighter.
I don’t really care if it’s a Korean fighter or a foreign fighter who is champ, but being a champion is a very important position. You are representing the strength of the league, and hence you have a lot of responsibility and pressure to perform. In another words you have to be able to lead ROAD FC, so I would like a fighter that has the skills to represent being a ROAD FC champion in the world stage. I don’t want an irresponsible champion like Shungo Oyama. In that aspect a Korean fighter winning would be much better.
So are you saying you are ok with a foreign champion?
I feel that I can be happy for and congratulate a fellow athlete that had more desire to win and was stronger than me. In the past I was much more selfish and cared only about my victory but nowadays I want to see newer fighters overtake me. This is the only way the Korean MMA scene can evolve, maybe this is a weak way of thinking but these thoughts came into my head all of a sudden. Maybe I am beginning to see the situation a bit wider.
The Foreign fighters in this tourney are very tough.
Yes, although they may not have much notoriety in Korea they are elite fighters that are recognized all over the word. If the Korean fighters don’t have their head on straight and are not willing to put everything on the line, all 3 of us might lose in the first stage of the tourney. That’s how strong foreign fighters are. I hope all my fellow Korean fighters feel this sense of danger and train very hard.
Your opponent is a striker so I feel there is a definite chance for fireworks.
When I said I started over I meant that I was going back to my old style. For a while I became more strategic and calculating in my style, but this time I will bring back my nature as an aggressive brawler.
What result do you want?
I want to finish in the first round.
Who is the most dangerous opponent in this tourney?
Takasuke Kume. He has the highest percentage to win. If possible I would like to meet him in the finals. I want to fight the strongest opponent. Kume is one of the strongest LW in Pancrase, and I am the Korean LW champion representing ROAD FC. I feel this storyline will work very well with the public.
I heard you are dropping down to Featherweight, what are your plans?
I will eventually, but I have not decided when. First I have to finish this tournament. I feel there are still a lot more fights for me at LW.
Bantamweight ROAD FC champion Kang Kyung Ho has entered the UFC. Is that why you want to win this tournament so much?
Trying to become ROAD FC champion just so I can enter the UFC is a ridiculous concept. I want to be someone that can help ROAD FC by putting exciting fights. ROAD FC is the only MMA league representing Korea, so ROAD FC has to do well for the sake of all Korean MMA. That is the most important and most important for fighters who are just coming up in Korea.
You have never lost on Korea soil. Why is this?
I don’t know about anything else, but I don’t get bad decisions here. When I am outside of Korea I feel I am discriminated against and get bad decisions, especially both my fights against Adrian Pang.
Kwang Hee Lee is fighting in M-1.
He has promised me that we will fight. I really hope he keeps his promise. Not only would a fight between us be great, many people in Korea want to see this fight. If possible I hope we can have this fight in a local MMA brand and help Korean MMA. My hope is that we fight in ROAD FC.
Any last words?
I have a lot of pride in winning KPW, SPIRIT MC WW GRAND PRIX. I worked very hard to get those titles. It will be no different for this ROAD FC tourney. I am doing everything possible to achieve victory. Before I was fighting for TEAM POSSE and for myself, this time I am fighting for all of KOREAN MMA.