It has been a very long time coming, but MMA middleweight Denis Kang will finally be making his UFC debut at UFC 93 this weekend. Once regarded as one of the top three 185-pounders in the world, Kang feels that it is now his time to prove that inside the Octagon walls.
“I saw a tape of the UFC for the first time and that was it. I was hooked,” said Kang. “My first thought was ‘I’m going to do that one day; I’m going to fight for the UFC,’ and here I am.”
He probably should have included the world “finally” in there as well. Nearly five years ago, Kang started a 16-fight winning streak. He eventually lost a tough split decision to Kazuo Misaki at Pride Bushido 3 in 2006, and he hasn’t been the same fighter since.
“The fight with Misaki was so grueling. I went into it with a torn biceps and was in so much pain,” Kang says. “I knew I only had two rounds to get through until I could recuperate as long as I needed so I gave it everything I had. It was a tough loss but could have gone either way.”
The Korean-born Canadian has gone on to lose two of his next five bouts, however he seems to have righted the ship, as he has been victorious in his last two fights.
Many wondered what took the well-rounded middleweight so long to challenge himself in the UFC, especially since the organization has struggled for years trying to build the divison up.
“I had an offer to be on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter but I turned it down, which was a huge risk I hoped I wouldn’t regret some day,” Kang stated. “I hadn’t seen my father in a long time and he had moved back to Korea so I chose to go over there to fight so I could reconnect with him.
“I guess you could say I took the long way around getting to the UFC but I don’t regret it at all. I’m a much better fighter now, I’m more prepared and I’m planning on staying here for a long time. I’m going to reinvent myself in the UFC and I’m going to make myself known right away.”
The “reinvention” will begin against a crafty veteran in Alan Belcher this Saturday. Belcher will be a good test for Kang, as he has won three of his last four UFC bouts.
“Belcher is tough. He’s got really good stand-up, but so do I. Of course I want to go for the knockout but I’m ready wherever the fight goes,” asserts Kang. “I think my conditioning is going to play a big part in my performance. My cardio and strength are better than they’ve ever been. I can’t wait. I’m ready to go right now.”
UFC fans Kang wait!