Talks about Carlos Condit, and also the Shields/GSP fight(says Shields just wanted to survive), and how he would do against GSP. Really great and informative interview.
How are you doing lately?
I’m actually starting to have more fun in training. Mornings and afternoons I train with all my teammates and do crossfit at night. Right now, top level korean fighters like Hae Jun “Hungry” Yang and Won Sik Park are coming to train. So the atmosphere right now is great. I almost feel like I wont even need to go to the states too early to train with American fighters. But i plan on doing that also.
Are you ok in regards to your injuries?
Yup I am fully healed and back better than ever. I’m just sad that all my teammates are getting injured. Little injuries are of course just a part of life but you really need to avoid those big injuries. Damn why do they keep getting hurt? I even asked the coach to put up a shaman pig head to ward of the bad spirits(haha).
For me I learned how to avoid injuries even in wrestling training but I still worry about my teamates and it pains me more to see them injured.
You are soon going to train with korea best LW, Won Sik Park.
Yeah I heard his surgery went well. If he comes to train all the top/best korean fighters will be here. I can’t wait. Its always good to have new blood and reinvigorate the training/sparring. I guess its like a dull blade having to get sharp again. We also have some foreign wrestlers here to help out.
How did you feel when you heard about the Carlos Condit matchup?
Actually he was suppose to fight me before the Hardy fight. I was beyond excited and almost drooling at the thought of fighting him. But DAMN, he got a lot stronger than before(haha). I saw that his striking was much better than I thought. So I have been concentrating more on striking this time.
Dan Hardy was known for his striking but got KOd by Condit
I have been really researching Condit’s striking style. As usual I have three different plans for this fight. I am not going to do the obvious. I know his coach Greg Jackson is crafty and have some plans implemented already. I don’t think an obvious take down strategy will work. If I go for lazy takedowns it can be very dangerous. So i have a lot of options I’m working on.
If there was a main fighting strategy what is it?
I guess overall the takedowns. But I am not gonna go overboard and force the takedowns. I think I am more well rounded than Condit, and if I mix it up I really think I will bother Condit. I already know what Condit’s strategy is. He wants to sprawl and brawl most likely.
I will take him down when he doesn’t expect it. And the fear of the takedown will definitely mess up Condit’s striking game.
But I am also doing a lot of standup to get ready for Condit’s stand up game. If my stand up game is tight the takedowns will come even easier.
What do you think of your own improvement?
Hmm. Well after Nate Diaz, I don’t want to be too cocky with my predictions. From now on ,personally as a huge MMA nerd/fan, I’m just curious to see how far I will go.
UFC 129 was the Jake Shields and GSP fight. What did you think?
I don’t think Jake Shields seemed like he truly wanted to win. I think he was satisfied with going all 5 rounds. And the champion also was way too safe, I feel he disappointed a lot of his fans. It was a bit disappointing overall.
I’m sure you were thinking of your own possible match up with GSP.
Yes he definitely never underestimates his opponents. On one side I think hes an amazing fighter who is always safety first, my other side is it just makes me want to fight him even more. If I ever get that fight I will never fight like Jake Shields.
I wont fight him with the thought I dont want to lose, because there is no point in that. I want to fall a lot and stand back up a lot, and put everything in my soul in that fight. Win or Lose , I wouldn’t care, I would just want to put on an impressive fight.
It will be a bit sad for you if he moves up to MW .
Yup a big match with Anderson Silva. At first I was like ,”they wont really do that”. But it seems much closer to reality now. If depends on the Okami and Silva outcome.
After the BJ Penn and Fitch draw the WW contenders seems wide open. Do you feel a bit greedy?
A llittle bit but right now I just want to be official in the TOP ten rankings. Of course if an opportunity arrives I will take it. Right now maybe because of my style I am not ready. But if it does happen I will train like a mad man.
Speaking of style you have been a bit criticized about it.
Its a big dilemna. Should I go safety first or should I leave what I am good at and go all out. But what comes out from winning is too good. I never want to lose. And if you win the fight money is twice as much.
But there is a part of me that wants to have a crazy fight. I have never really gone all out with my striking which is really good contrary to what many think. But you know what they say, once something falls it all falls.
Condit also has great stamina and cardio
Yes people like Rory Macdonald and others have lost because of this. If you just strike with him obviously his cardio will be good because thats what he likes doing. But don’t worry.
Once he feels my clinch there is no way his cardio won’t drop. By the third round we will both be tired. He won’t have the energy to have KO power.
Because of your grappling style many fans are worried about your cardio
Honestly in America when I train people literally laugh because of my crazy cardio levels. I always had really good cardio. But I think the jetlag and traveling from Korea always messes me up a little.
I am trying to figure out a better way to adjust to America. Usually I thought 5 days was enough to adjust but now I am going 2 weeks earlier . I think that will help a lot with my conditioning.
This fight is super important, I am sure you know this better than anyone.
Yup when I stared in the UFC I was plagued with injuries, but all that trials just made me stronger. I always get stronger from obstacles. I will win no matter what. So I hope the fans have faith in me and hopefully cheer for me always.
Photo: Kim Dong-hyun during the weigh in before UFC 114 on May 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Francis Specker