The UFC’s talent-rich middleweight division just got a lot more interesting on Monday with the official signing of Denis Kang, a 10-year pro who has competed internationally in the PRIDE, Spirit MC, and Pancrase organizations, among others, in an impressive career that will finally make its stop in the world-renowned Octagon.
“Everybody always asked me, ‘Denis, when are we gonna see you in the UFC? When can I see you on pay-per-view?’” said Kang. “And I always said, ‘I don’t know. I’m fighting in Japan, you can catch it on youtube or on two-week delay, but not live.’ (Laughs) And honestly, that was a big factor. I want to fight in North America and get some exposure over here. Plus, all the best fighters are moving towards the UFC, so if I want to be the best, I need to fight the best, and for that I have to be in the UFC.”
Fresh off a 48 second TKO of UFC vet Marvin Eastman on October 25th, Kang’s signing created a sizeable internet buzz when revealed on Monday, and took the 31-year old by surprise a bit.
“My phone was ringing off the hook,” said the American Top Team member, “but I’m honored that people are making such a big deal out of it.”
And for longtime fight fans, having Kang in the UFC is a big deal. A truly international fighter who was born to a Korean father and French mother on the French island of St Pierre of Miquelon but raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Kang has been involved in martial arts for much of his life. He turned pro in MMA in 1998, submitting Eric Harcrow in just 15 seconds, and hasn’t looked back since, compiling a 31-10-1 record over the last decade.
“I’m a pretty aggressive guy,” said the 5 foot 11 Kang in describing his style. “I like to get in there and try to finish fights right away, but I can go the distance as well. I’ve been called explosive and athletic and I think that’s portrayed quite a bit in my fighting style. And I’m also pretty well-rounded. I’ve got a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but I train a lot with wrestlers and standup fighters, and it’s weird, but I’m a jiu-jitsu-based guy who wins most of my fights standing.”
Blessed with impressive power, an exciting style, and a submission game that has accounted for 15 of his wins, Kang has also drawn raves from fans
for never shying away from top competition, having fought a Who’s Who of the sport that includes Joe Doerksen, Dennis Hallman, Jason Miller, Andrei Semenov, Mark Weir, Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua, Amar Suloev, Akihiro Gono, Kazuo Misaki, Yoshiro Akiyama, and Gegard Mousasi.
Now he’ll get a chance to test himself against a talent-rich UFC middleweight division, and possibly against the man who currently rules the 185-pounders, champion Anderson Silva.
“I think right now Anderson is number one in the world without a doubt and I don’t think anybody would dispute that,” said Kang of the champ. “But it’s a deep division. I’ve been scoping it out and there’s some solid, solid talent in there.”