In the world of mixed martial arts it is not very difficult to be forgotten no matter how good you are at your craft. As the sport become more mainstream and extra incentive is placed on knockouts and being outspoken, fighters who just get the job done are often pushed to the wayside. For an example just look at the UFC career of Dong Hyun Kim, a very consistent winner at welterweight but rarely considered among the group’s elite members.
Looking across the mixed martial arts community it would be difficult to find an organization that has “Stun Gun” ranked within the top ten of the 170 pound weight class. It would be just as difficult to find an organization that has him ranked within the top fifteen of the division. However, during his nearly five years as a Zuffa employee he has been a very high level fighter with a record of 8-2-1. His only defeats have come from former title challenger Carlos Condit in 2011 and then an early rib injury forced a stoppage to his bout against Demian Maia last year.
His wins may not include any big names within the division but he’s still defeated some fighters that have put together runs and valuable enough to add credibility to Kim’s ledger. For comparison’s sake; multiple outlets have Erick Silva and Mike Pyle ranked higher than Kim while both fighters have not built the same type of ledger over time.
The question that has to be asked is if this is because of who Kim’s fought or the way he defeats his opponents. During this run he has only stopped one opponent and that was Jason Tan back at UFC 84. Since then he has a string of seven straight decision victories and while those are wins; it’s apparent that the UFC itself, let along media outlets and fans do not see those victories as valuable. Kim’s name doesn’t move the needle when it comes to Pay per View buys or television rankings so he is left to stay on the mid card of fight events no matter his current streak.
Since he dominated Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC on Fuel TV 8 he should be placed against an opponent that will not only be a challenge, but a win can place him into the title conversation throughout the rest of the year and going into 2014. Mike Pierce, Rory MacDonald, Robbie Lawler and a host of other fighters would be solid matchups to introduce the South Korean standout into the top ten of the welterweight rankings. Even if he drags out another decision, there wouldn’t be any justification of keeping him outside of those rankings.
As the UFC continues to look for foreign fighters that can be used to develop their brand outside of the United States; Dong Hyun Kim can be the face that helps them build in Korea once he has the opportunity to shine.