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The Fighters of Korea Updated: 2011-12-09 00:00:00 KST

A crowd of people gather in Janchung-dong, Seoul, as the sun sets.

[Interview : ] "I came to watch the Road FC."

[Interview : ] "I've come to Road FC to see Denis Kang."

They are here to see Road FC, a mixed martial arts contest.

Fans can’t hide their expectations for the contest, which has brought fighters from Korea, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, and Canada.

[Interview : Jeong Mun-hong, CEO
Road FC] "We will now begin the 5th Road Fighting Championship Contest."

The contest begins with an appearance by performance artist Nancy Lang as the round girl.

Road FC is Korea's professional mixed martial arts league. With five tournaments over the past year, it is becoming a platform for Korean fighters to test their skills against world-renowned fighters.

In a closely-watched match between a Korean fighter and a South African fighter, the Korean fighter is able to pull through to victory.

[Interview : ] "Korea!"

[Interview : Kim Tae-uk, Spectator] "The contest draws people in because it's completely fair. The last man standing is the one who's worked the hardest and is the strongest."

[Interview : Kim Dae-hwan, Commentator
Ultimate Fighting Championship] "The professional martial arts market in Korea had died down, and now, it has been revived. Road FC is at the forefront of that revival, so each competition raises more interest and awareness about professional martial arts. The more important thing, though, is that it is an opportunity for the fighters to grow. Anyone can fight in these contests."

One fighter at the contest is already a star with many fans.

He’s Denis Kang, a talented fighter currently fighting in Japanese and American pro leagues. Kang was born to a Korean father and a French Canadian mother.

[Interview : Denis Kang, Professional MMA fighter] "How you doing[Interview : Kim Dae-hwan, Commentator
Ultimate Fighting Championship] "Korean-born fighters like Kim Dong-hyun, Jung Chan-sung, and Yang Dong-i who fight in the UFC serve as role models for other fighters in Korea, and they propel the development of professional Korean MMA."

Kim Dong-hyun is another Korean fighter competing in world tournaments.

He became the first Korean fighter to enter the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2008.

[Interview : Kim Dong-hyun, Professional MMA fighter
Busan Team M.A.D.] "I would say that if I lost even one match, I'd quit fighting. That's how confident I wanted to be, how much I wanted to be recognized by others."

He was the first Asian to enter the world's top fighting contest. With that achievement under his belt, he took five consecutive victories and wowed the world. He will be fighting in the UFC again come December 31st, and he's hoping for another success.

[Interview : Kim Dong-hyun, Professional MMA fighter
Busan Team M.A.D.] "At every round, I tell myself that it could be my last round in the ring. I try to enjoy it more than everyone else, and I try to give everything I've got when I practice."

[Interview : Kim Gi-tae, Editor] "Asian fighters have a perseverance and mental strength that Western fighters don't have. They also absorb techniques quickly, which bring them to a level similar to that of Western fighters."

Ben Henderson is another fighter that makes Korea proud at the UFC.

Ben Henderson enters the contest wrapped in a Korean flag. Born to a Korean mother and an American father, Henderson grew up in the United States but always kept his mother's native Korea in his heart. Henderson began training in taekwondo since he was twelve, and is now using those talents in the UFC.

[Interview : ] "And the winner, by unanimous decision, is Ben Henderson!"

[Interview : Ben Henderson, Professional MMA fighter
MMA LAB] "To my fans in Korea, I love you. I love you, Mom!"

The last fighter we meet today is Jung Chan-sung[정찬성], nicknamed "The Korean Zombie" in the U.S.!

He has many fans abroad thanks to his shocking debut at the UFC.

[Interview : ] "I love the Korean Zombie. He's awesome."

[Interview : ] "He's got a heart that's made of stone, and it's true and real."

[Interview : ] "He's just sick. He keeps getting hit, just keeps running through it, I don't know if you could beat"

At 25, he made his debut at the UFC this year, and decorated his start with the Twister, a never-seen-before technique. That technique earned him the nickname "Korean Zombie" and a group of fans abroad.

He is currently training hard for his next match.

At a practice ring in Seoul, Jung Chan-sung is busy preparing for his upcoming match. He seems sincere in every move he makes, even in practice.

[Interview : Jung Chan-sung, Professional MMA fighter
Korean Top Team] "On December 11th, I'll be fighting against Mark Hominick at the UFC 140. He's a former champion, and one of the world's top ten hitters, but I'm preparing for that fight in a lot of different ways because I'm an MMA fighter."

Mark Hominick, who Jung will be fighting at the UFC, is recognized globally as a strong and fast striker. It is amazing that a Korean fighter has even been matched against him.

[Interview : Jung Chan-sung, Professional MMA fighter
Korean Top Team] "If I win, there's a good chance that I can be ranked among the world's top ten fighters. Defeat is not an option. I'll be back. Let's do it! "

Korean fighters are showing the world the perseverance and endurance of Koreans every time they enter the ring. They are true representatives of Korea, and we, as a nation, continue to cheer them on.


I can't help but think that Korea's tradition in taekwondo and other martial arts give these Korean athletes a bit of an edge and draws in viewers domestically.
This is a sport that probably looks as hard as it is to do.
I mean Kim Yuna makes ice skating look so easy but these guys really do sweat it out.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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