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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Korean TrauMMA, Part I: Kim Dong-hyun - A fighter who changed his name during his 9th grader

Kim Dong-hyun a.k.a the Stun Gun (Hangul/Hanja: 김동현/金東賢, born November 17, 1981 in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province) is a South Korean mixed martial artist currently fighting in the UFC's welterweight division. He was signed by the UFC after fighting in the Japanese promotion DEEP and in the Korean promotion Spirit MC. As of October 27, 2014, he is #10 in official UFC welterweight rankings. His previous name was Kim Bong (김봉/金奉), before he changed to his current name during 9th grade (Middle School 3rd Year). 

Kim began to practice judo at Yong-In University in Yongin Cheoin-gu, Gyeonggi Province, which led him to reignite his MMA career. Kim began training at Wajyutsu Keisyukai, a renowned Japanese gym frequented by a number of top Japanese fighters. As one of the largest members of the gym, Kim became a regular sparring partner of middleweight Yushin Okami. At this time he competed in judo and sambo.

Kim gained recognition after signing with the Japanese DEEP organization, earning a succession of wins before knocking out DEEP welterweight champion Hidehiko Hasegawa in a non-title bout in 2007. Kim and Hasegawa later fought to a controversial draw in a title fight at DEEP 32nd Impact, leaving defending champion Hasegawa with the title. Kim departed from DEEP to sign a contract with PRIDE Fighting Championships, but the UFC purchased and dismantled PRIDE before Kim could fight in the organization. Kim's performances attracted the attention of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) talent scouts, who offered him a contract. However, because the WEC is not televised in Korea, Kim's management pushed for and received a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which airs on Korean cable television.

Kim's original nickname is "Stun Gun", then a lot of Korean fans started calling him "Maemi", which means Cicada in Korean. The nickname was given to Kim from his fighting style where he likes to take his opponents to the ground, grapple with them and never let them escape like a Cicada on a tree.

Kim made his UFC debut at UFC 84 against Jason Tan, methodically breaking down his opponent and ultimately winning by technical knockout in the third round. With his performance, Kim became the first Korean to win in the octagon. Kim's appearance drew considerable attention in Korea. One week before the event, a prime time, hour-long special about Kim was aired on Korean television. Though Kim's bout did not air on the UFC pay-per-view, it aired live on Korean television, and was then replayed twice more before the regular event coverage resumed.

He made his second octagon appearance at UFC 88, capturing a split decision over The Ultimate Fighter 7 alumnus Matt Brown. During this fight, Kim's conditioning was very poor due to jet lag, and visa problems prevented him from bringing a coach. In the first round, Kim threatened Brown with a standing rear naked choke and took Brown's back on numerous occasions but became exhausted in the second. In the third, Kim used some effective ground-and-pound and cut Brown with an elbow. All three judges scored the bout 29–28, two of them in Kim's favor. The decision was contested by the crowd in attendance with noticeable booing.

Kim returned to the octagon in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 31, 2009 as he faced off against fellow judo practitioner Karo Parisyan at UFC 94. With Frank Mir in his corner who served as his boxing coach prior to the fight. Kim originally lost to Parisyan via split decision. Fans in attendance booed the decision, and former UFC champions Matt Hughes, Randy Couture and UFC president Dana White have commented that they thought Kim had won the fight. Afterwards, however, Parisyan tested positive for three banned pain killers: Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone and Oxymorphone. The Nevada Athletic Commission declared the match a No Contest, and Parisyan was suspended for nine months.

Kim defeated TJ Grant at UFC 100, winning by a unanimous 30–26 decision, threatening with a guillotine choke midway through the second round. He was scheduled to fight Dan Hardy on November 14, 2009 at UFC 105, but was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury sustained while sparring with Kazuhiro Nakamura and was subsequently replaced on the card by Mike Swick.

Kim was expected to face Chris Lytle on February 21, 2010 at UFC 110. However, Kim was forced off the card after suffering another injury. Brian Foster stepped in as his replacement.

Kim next faced The Ultimate Fighter season 7 winner, Amir Sadollah on May 29, 2010 at UFC 114 and won via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), dominating Sadollah with far superior Judo and Wrestling.

Kim was then expected to face fellow undefeated fighter John Hathaway at UFC 120, though he was later replaced by Mike Pyle due to injuries from training.

Kim defeated The Ultimate Fighter season 5 winner, Nate Diaz on January 1, 2011 at UFC 125 via unanimous decision. Kim used his judo to control rounds 1 and 2. Diaz mounted a remarkable offense in Round 3, but it was not enough and Kim won a 29-28 decision over Diaz. After the fight Kim called out current UFC welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre, whom he considers a hero and role model to himself as a mixed martial artist. Later on January 10, 2011, Kim signed a four fight extension with the UFC.

Kim lost to Carlos Condit on July 2, 2011 at UFC 132 via first round KO due to a flying knee. This loss was the first of his professional MMA career.

Kim fought Sean Pierson on December 30, 2011 at UFC 141. Kim used superior striking to control Pierson throughout the fight and win a unanimous decision, even landing a leaping front-kick to the face in the second round that wobbled Pierson.

Kim lost to Demian Maia via TKO on July 7, 2012 at UFC 148. The bout was stopped in forty-seven seconds in the first round by referee Mario Yamasaki, after Maia took Kim down and ended up in the mounted position. Many observers, including the UFC commentator Joe Rogan, thought that Kim had broken a rib during the bout, but it was later revealed that he suffered a major muscle spasm while defending Maia's takedown attempts.

Kim faced Paulo Thiago on November 10, 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV 6. He dominated the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on the ground for all three rounds, ending the bout with a wild display of ground and pound reminiscent of Kazushi Sakuraba. He won via unanimous decision.

Kim fought Siyar Bahadurzada on March 3, 2013 at UFC on Fuel TV 8. He dominated Bahadurzada in the ground game with his superior grappling skills and earned a unanimous decision victory.

Kim then faced Erick Silva on October 9, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 29. He won via knockout at 3:01 of the second round, earning him his first Knockout of the Night bonus award.

Kim faced John Hathaway on March 1, 2014 at The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale. Kim defeated Hathaway via third round knockout, earning him his first Performance of the Night honors.

Kim was expected to face Hector Lombard on August 23, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau. However, Lombard pulled out of the bout and was replaced by Tyron Woodley. Kim lost the fight via TKO in the first round - 1 minute and 1 second. At the same time, Kim returned to Korea as the guest for Yoo Jae-suk's show entitled I am a Man/나는 남자다 (Episode 6: Men with Unusual Names).

On June 16, 2013 he featured as the 'Hulk' on Running Man episode 150 (SBS Sunday night show). On this episode he led the character that transformed to Hulk mode in Running Man Avengers. Kim was also featured along with fellow UFC fighter Chu Sung-hoon (known internationally as Yoshihiro Akiyama) in the Korean boy band MYNAME's drama music video for their single "Baby I'm Sorry".