“I traveled back and forth between Chuncheon and Seoul every day for martial arts,” says UFC’s Choi Seung-guk, who dreamed of playing soccer

“I don’t think anything is ever just gained, there’s always pain to gain something. Training is hard, but I think that’s what gives you the confidence and courage to fight.”

That’s the motto of Choi Seung-guk (26, Korean Zombie MMA), who dreams of making it to the UFC, the world’s biggest stage in mixed martial arts.

Known as a protégé of “Korean Zombie” Chung Chan Sung, Choi will take on Genius Yue (23-China) in the Season 2 flyweight semifinals of “Road to UFC” on Nov. 27 at the Singapore Gym.

The Road to UFC is a tournament competition organized by the UFC to find the best Asian mixed martial arts talent. The winner receives a full contract with the UFC. In Season 1, held last year, South Korean fighters Park Hyun Sung (flyweight) and Lee Jung Young (featherweight) won the tournament and earned a chance to compete in the UFC.

Choi Seung-guk competed in Season 1. He performed well and made it to the finals. In the finals, he lost a close decision to Park Hyun-sung. The UFC was so impressed with his performance that they invited him to compete in Season 2 less than two weeks after the tournament ended. Choi didn’t hesitate to say yes.

“I had some injuries after Season 1, so I was going to take a break,” Choi said. “But the moment I got the offer, I thought it was a chance to come back, so I said yes right away.”

Choi advanced to the second round after defeating Sumit Kumar (22-India) via unanimous decision in the opening round of their flyweight bout on May 27 at UFC Performance Institute Shanghai in China. Despite dominating his opponent throughout the bout, he admitted that “it didn’t go well”. In the second round, he aims to showcase his skills without regrets.

“The player I’m facing this time is the same Chinese player I faced in the quarterfinals in Season 1, so the style is similar, but he’s a left-handed player and more technically complete,” Choi said. “He’s fast and has good ground game, so I’m preparing for him thoroughly.”

Choi has been on a roll. From June last year to May this year, he played four matches in a year. This will be his fifth fight in just over a year. That’s a lot of work for a mixed martial artist, especially when it comes to weight loss and injuries.

For Choi, it’s all because he wants to be on the biggest stage in the UFC. He originally wanted to be a soccer player. He was an elite soccer player from fourth grade to his sophomore year of high school.

He was forced to quit soccer for a number of reasons. He had doubts about athletics, and when he was about to fall into a deep rut, mixed martial arts caught his eye. When he saw a highlight video of Chung Chan-sung, who is now his teacher, he thought, “This is it,” and hit his head.

Every day after school, he would take an intercity bus from Chuncheon to Seoul and rush to the gym. His parents’ opposition was fierce, but Choi’s stubbornness could not be broken. “I got down on my knees and said to my parents, ‘Just trust me once,’ and it’s been 10 years now. His love and determination for mixed martial arts hasn’t changed.

“Kicking in soccer doesn’t help me with my martial arts skills,” Choi says, “but it definitely helps me with the mental part of it, like image training and improvisation when I step into the cage.”

Already a UFC champion in terms of desire, Choi wants to repay his family and teammates for believing in him by winning the title that slipped through his fingers last season. 메이저놀이터

“There are a lot of people around me who always help me without anything in return, and I’m always grateful to them, and I want to repay them with a good fight. I will also show the fans who are supporting me by fighting hard and winning.”