KEY POINTS

  • Kim Jae Woong is looking to get to the next level wtih Team Alpha Male
  • The South Korean is bracing for a tough battle against Martin Nguyen at ONE: Revolution
  • Kim is happy to see his improvement as a mixed martial artist

From Busan to Sacramento, ONE Championship featherweight contender Kim Jae Woong is determined to find the best training partners available.

In this instance, that means making the 5,630-mile and 13-hour trek to Team Alpha Male in California, home of former WEC champion Urijah Faber and former UFC titleholder Cody Garbrandt.

“My dream has been to train at Team Alpha Male, they have a really deep roster for my division,” Kim said through a translator in a recent interview with the South China Morning Post.

Kim Jae Woong Kim Jae Woong Photo: ONE Championship photo

“I used to train at Team Alpha Male before when I fought [as an] amateur, so I have a bit of a connection there… I hit up Urijah to see how things were, they were very open to [me training there] and they said they wanted to support me. Everything worked well, I booked a ticket right away.”

Kim’s upcoming fight against former two-division king Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen at ONE: Revolution represents the toughest challenge he has ever met as a professional mixed martial artist.

So to enlist the pinnacle of MMA training and maximize his returns makes all the sense in the world.

“In the US, there are a lot of training partners who are world-class. In Korea, at some gyms you’ll only have one or two training partners who are fighting in the major promotions, but in America there are so many world-class fighters from around the world. From Brazil, from Japan, from China, it’s not [just Americans] at the gym. Fighters come from all over the world,” he explained.

Although Kim has expressed his admiration for his training partners in the United States, his success has been eye-catching while training at home in South Korea.

The 28-year-old holds a professional record of 11-4 and has previously captured the featherweight title in Top Fighting Championship, a highly-regarded regional promotion based out of Seoul, South Korea.

His success at the regional level earned him a spot on the ONE Championship roster, where he has compiled a record of 2-1 with two knockouts.

Throughout the duration of his career, Kim has always had a knack for finding spectacular finishes.

Among his 11 professional victories, seven have come by way of knockout, earning him a reputation as a dangerous striker.

Despite the level of competition he is preparing to face, Kim’s hardest battle since making the temporary move to the United States has not come in any form of MMA.

“I would try to order an iced americano, but no matter how many times I said it, they wouldn’t understand what I was saying,” Kim said with a laugh.

Kim Jae Woong Kim Jae Woong Photo: ONE Championship photo

“That was the only thing that shocked me.”

Aside from his coffee-related issues, Kim has excelled during his time training in the US, taking his game to the proverbial next level.

Kim has lauded the experience that he has gained training with the Team Alpha Male roster and coaching staff, adding all the essential skills to work towards a title shot.

“Right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Thanh Le (ONE Championship featherweight titlist). I don’t know what his plans are,” Kim stated.

“One thing I heard, though, is that the winner of this bout will get the next title shot.”