“I couldn’t show even half of my potential. I will become a world champion.”
‘Korean Tiger’ Lee Jung-young (27) will play on the world’s best stage. On the 5th (Korean time), ‘UFC Fight Night Lewis vs. Spivak’ was held at the UFC Apex Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. What caught the attention of Korean fans was ‘ROAD TO UFC’ (RTU), featuring Featherweight Lee Jeong-young, Flyweight Park Hyeon-seong (27) and Choi Seung-guk (26).
RTU, which started last May, is a quarter-final tournament in which Asia’s top MMA prospects participate, and is a program hosted by the world’s best martial arts organization, UFC. It was planned to expand the base of the Asian market. A total of 32 athletes participated in the first event in four weight classes: flyweight (56.7kg), bantamweight (61.2kg), featherweight (65.8kg), and lightweight (70.3kg). The final winner will sign a formal contract with the UFC and rise to the Octagon.
This Fight Night was also held as the final match of RTU. Lee Jung-young, who advanced to the featherweight final, defeated Lee Li (26) of China by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28) and won the championship.
Lee Jung-young’s entry into the UFC was not as easy as he thought. He captured the attention of the UFC officials with first-round KO victories in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, but the final was unexpectedly rough. From the beginning, Lee Ja attacked with a clinch to avoid Lee Jung-young’s strong firepower. Lee Jung-young struggled by allowing a takedown.
The counterattack began in the second round. The moment Lee Jung-young fell from the clinch, Lee Ja hit a right hook. An uppercut was also included. As soon as the third round started, a right hand uppercut exploded, and a right straight hit also went in. But he was a god. After the third round, two of the three judges raised Lee Jung-young’s hand, resulting in a split decision victory. Lee Jung-young’s striking received a higher score than Lee’s wrestling.
Although considered an easy opponent, the reason Lee Jung-young struggled was due to injury. Even before RTU started, Lee Jung-young was in a state of requiring surgery due to a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee, but he hid it because of his desire to advance to the UFC. He is the reason I didn’t show my skills in the finals. Lee Jung-young also waited for the referee’s decision with a nervous expression after the game. 안전놀이터
Lee Jung-young said, “I honestly thought the scoring was similar. Fortunately, he is grateful that the judges upheld my hand. He will definitely win the next match with a completely different look.” Lee Jung-young also admitted Lee Ja’s fighting. They tossed and turned and showed a close match throughout the game. Lee Jung-young, who is heavy-mouthed, confessed that he was not satisfied with himself and that he did not have much to say.
Because of his injury, Lee Jung-young received treatment in the US at PI (Performance Institute, a training and rehabilitation facility run by UFC). Lee Jung-young, who trained back and forth between PI and Apex Hall, said, “I couldn’t show my true self due to an injury. He said, “From the next match, he will train with high-level players in the United States and prepare with a stronger appearance.” Lee Jung-young, who conducted interviews with local media outlets even before the final match, said, ‘My level is not the players who have advanced to RTU, but the current top 5 players’.
Lee Jung-young, who entered the UFC, the stage of her dreams, said, “Now that it is a stage where I have to compete against stronger opponents, my mindset has changed a lot. Rather than blindly working hard, I will train more systematically with good partners.” “I haven’t shown half of my potential yet. I don’t know where I will end up, but I believe I can become a world champion. I will continue to develop and grow,” making it clear that the world champion is the destination.