For a guy who has only lost two of his 11 UFC fights, it seems surprising on the surface that Dong Hyun Kim has not caught on with more bandwagon fans who latch on to winners without shame. But when you look at his style of fighting, it makes a little more sense.
The 31-year-old welterweight from South Korea has finished only one fight in his entire UFC career—his very first bout inside the Octagon back in May 2008 when he defeated Jason Tan by knockout at UFC 84.
Since then, "Stun Gun" has used his wrestling style to frustrate, control and ultimately defeat just about every opponent he has gone up against.
That's exactly what he did on Saturday night when he repeatedly took down Siyar Bahadurzada throughout their three-round fight, earning a unanimous decision on Fuel TV.
Kim did get some cheers from the crowd on Saturday night, especially late in the third round when he rained down punches on Bahadurzada from the mount. Still, the overwhelming opinion of Kim's work in the cage has been that he is a successful but very boring fighter.
That kind of style has worked for some fighters in the past. Take Jon Fitch, for example. Fitch ran up a 14-1 record in the Octagon at one point before he ran into a rough patch from 2011 to 2013. His grinding style earned him many decision victories, but he wasn't gaining fan support quite as quickly as he was victories.
When he lost to Demian Maia at UFC 156—his second loss in just three bouts—the UFC saw the opportunity to get rid of him from the roster and decided to pull the trigger. Fitch is now unemployed.
Kim has been very successful in his career, but like Fitch, he faces the serious concern that if he doesn't start putting in more entertaining fights, he could find himself no longer on the UFC roster if he so much as slips up and loses a single bout.
For now, Kim's wins continue to pile up. It'll be interesting to see what the UFC does with him next. Do they put him against a fellow veteran? Do they use him as a test for an up-and-comer? How about a fight against another jiu-jitsu practitioner to see if he can redeem himself from the tough loss he suffered against Demian Maia at UFC 148?
It's anyone's guess at this point, but one interesting suggestion might be former UFC welterweight No. 1 contender Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is coming off of two straight losses and really needs a win to get back on track while Kim could certainly use a victory over Koscheck—one of the most well-known fighters in the division—to spring him into the Top 10.
A Kim vs. Koscheck fight could be one of the biggest tests of the South Korean's career. How would he handle going up against a high-level striker who also has the wrestling pedigree to stay on his feet and avoid many of Kim's takedowns?
If Kim hopes to be a contender for the UFC welterweight title someday, he will need to continue to win fights. That much is obvious. But with the UFC's recent push toward entertainment value, he may also have to start finishing some fights. Maybe then he'll get the respect he has earned.
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