Dong Hyun Kim seemed to be on the downward trajectory in his career in 2011 and 2012. The stalwart Welterweight was seemingly a point fighter, willing to lay on top of his opponents who could not get up out of Kim’s top game. In seven of his ten UFC victories, Kim won by way of decision.
After a three fight winning streak, in which he defeated Nate Diaz and TJ Grant, who both should have been fighting Lightweights, Kim ran into the indomitable Carlos Condit. What resulted was a highlight reel KO brought to you by a picture-esque flying knee from Condit. Kim’s career seemed doom to be nothing more than a forgotten memory of Carlos Condit’s highlight reel.
After another three decision victories sandwiched by a freak injury that resulted in a loss to Demian Maia, Kim’s career had seemingly plateaued. When the UFC booked him against Welterweight prospect, Erick Silva, the overwhelming majority believed that Kim was being fed to the lions. Instead, Kim unleashed a new found aggression, and pulled off one of the most shocking and violent KO’s of 2013.
After closing the lights on Erick Silva, Kim was suddenly a touted attraction. MMA fans wanted to see what Kim’s encore would be. Kim returned to the Octagon against John Hathaway this past weekend, and uncorked yet another dazzling and jaw dropping KO. This time, it came in the form of a spinning elbow in the third round, earning him the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.
Kim attested his new found KO power to a change in styles: (Courtesy of BloodyElbow):
I’ve continued to stack up the wins, but I wasn’t given a title shot, so I decided, in order to get a title shot, I had to change the way I fight. So, I decided to get much more aggressive and hopefully I’ll get noticed, and get a shot at the title.
Well, Kim is certainly getting noticed, but the question remains: who will Dong Hyun Kim face next? With a Welterweight tournament seemingly going down at UFC 171, Kim needs at least one more marquee victory to get a shot at the Welterweight title. With Rory MacDonald coming off a big victory over Demian Maia, the two men would make for a great #1 contender’s matchup later this year.