If things had gone according to the original plan, undefeated South Korean bantamweight Ji Yeon Kim would be making her UFC debut against former champion Holly Holm when the UFC touches down in Singapore later this month. Regrettably, Holm turned this fight down, and Kim was instead paired with rangy Czech fighter Lucie Pudilová.
Despite the lesser-known opponent, Kim told BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor that she’s very excited about her imminent UFC debut.
“I’M VERY EXCITED ABOUT FINALLY MAKING MY UFC DEBUT,” SHE SAID. “IT WILL BE MY FIRST TIME ON A STAGE THIS BIG, SO MY ADRENALINE IS PUMPING. EVERY DAY IS FILLED HALF WITH ANTICIPATION AND HALF WITH NERVOUS ENERGY.”
“I’VE BEEN TRYING TO VISUALIZE FIGHTING IN THE UFC WHILE TRAINING. MENTALLY, I’VE BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS MOMENT FOR A LONG TIME.”
Kim is also pleased that this debut will go down in Singapore, which is relatively close to her home in Korea.
“THERE PROBABLY ARE SOME ADVANTAGES TO BEING CLOSER TO HOME,” SHE SAID. “LESS FLIGHT TIME AND TIME DIFFERENCE, WILL PROBABLY HELP ME EASE INTO MY FIRST UFC FIGHT.”
Kim then gave a quick assessment of her opponent, who came up short in her recent UFC debut, losing to Lina Lansberg.
“SHE’S A YOUNG AND TOUGH FIGHTER. SHE’S ALSO LONG AND RANGY AND UTILIZES HER JAB WELL. THAT SAID, I’VE BEEN TRAINING HARD AND I THINK I CAN BEAT HER ANYWHERE THE FIGHT GOES, WHETHER IT BE ON THE GROUND OR ON THE FEET.”
Though Holm would have been an incredible opponent for her UFC debut, Kim believes Pudilová is probably a more realistic for that debut.
“I DO [THINK THIS IS A BLESSING IN DISGUISE],” SHE SAID. “I THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A BIT OVERWHELMING FOR ME TO BE IN THE MAIN EVENT AGAINST HOLLY HOLM IN MY UFC DEBUT. SO, IT GIVES ME A CHANCE TO EASE MY WAY IN. I DO THINK I’LL BE ABLE TO FIGHT HOLLY AT SOME POINT, THOUGH.”
How do you think Ji Yeon Kim will do in her UFC debut?
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 6/10/2017.