South Korean standout Hyun Gyu Lim has a big opportunity to shoot up the welterweight rankings this weekend, as he faces off against top ten welterweight Tarec Saffiedine in the main event of UFC Fight 34
However, when the welterweight prospect was first told by his team that he had been offered the slot against Saffiedine, Lim never believed them. He thought his team mates were joking with him. Lim told the story to MMAjunkie.com through a translator.
“Korean Top Team is full of jokesters, and we always play around with each other. So at first, when they told me that unfortunately Jake Ellenberger got hurt and I was going to be elevated to the main event, I didn’t believe it. I thought they were joking. I didn’t believe it until after my coach told me it was true.”
But when "The Ace" realised that the offer was serious, he "immediately accepted". Lim was originally scheduled to face Kiichi Kunimoto, who will now face fellow UFC newcomer Luiz Dutra.
While Lim had obviously heard of the former Strikeforce welterweight champion, he never expected to be matched up with Saffiedine, most likely due to their difference in ranking.
Lim respects Saffiedine's skills given his accomplishments and after seeing a few of his fights. But he feels like he has more power and is the better finisher due to his attack-oriented style:
“I watched a couple of his fights, especially when he beat Nate Marquardt to become the Strikeforce champion,” Lim said. “I wouldn’t say he was on my radar, but that was a good fight.”
“We have different styles, for sure,” Lim said. “We’re both strikers, but I feel like I’m a better finisher. I have more power and more aggression. I’m more attack-oriented.”
Lim made an ultra-impressive start to his UFC career last year. He debuted in March where he beat down Marcelo Guimaraes before finishing him with a devastating knee in the second round.
He followed that performance up with a second consecutive knockout via knee against Pascal Krauss. The war with Krauss at UFC 164 also earned the two "Fight of the Night". Lim should have really got "Knockout of the Night," but somehow Chad Mendes was gifted it.
His finish over Krauss was the first time anyone had knocked out consecutive opponents using knees inside the Octagon. If you haven't seen the Korean's two impressive finishes yet, check them out.
Lim sounds like he is taking the fight seriously, "The Ace" says he doesn't want to let the chance go to waste.
“As far as I’m concerned, my existence is only up until Saturday night. After Saturday night, we’ll worry about it then. It’s a good opportunity. I don’t want to let the chance go.”
I can't wait for the fight on Saturday, both men have opposite styles and I'm intrigued to see how Lim will fair against some top competition. Who have you got Saturday, Lim or Saffiedine?