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Ji Yeon Kim of South Korea poses for a portrait at UFC APEX on February 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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Ji Yeon Kim Welcomes The Pressure

Ji Yeon Kim Hopes To Turn Things Around In A Fan-Friendly Fight At UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Spivac

Ji Yeon Kim can’t lie: she’s feeling a little pressure about her upcoming fight against Mandy Böhm at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Spivac.

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“Fire Fist” is confident, of course, but she knows this is a fight that is crucial for her career, as well as a fight Korean fans have their eyes on this weekend.

“A lot of Korean fans are really excited about it,” Kim told UFC.com. “I'm pretty nervous, but I'm excited at the same time, as well, so we'll see how it goes.”

Ji Yeon Kim (L) of South Korea punches Justine Kish of Russia in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Spectrum Center on January 27, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton /Zuffa LLC)

Ji Yeon Kim (L) of South Korea punches Justine Kish of Russia in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Spectrum Center on January 27, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton /Zuffa LLC)


A member of the roster since the summer of 2017, Kim is currently on a tough run of form. Her last win came in October 2019, when she knocked out Nadia Kassem at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia. Since then, she has lost four in a row to Alexa Grasso, Molly McCann, Priscilla Cachoeira and Joselyne Edwards. The last loss, however, came in a close split decision, and the losses to McCann and Cachoeira earned her Fight of the Night bonuses.

Still, Kim isn’t in this for moral victories and an extra $50k for losing a fight. She desperately hopes to get her hand raised for the first time in more than three years.

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“Whoever that I'm fighting with, I don't really care,” she said. “I only focus on the fight itself, but since I've been practicing just to win the fight. I'll be focusing on that.”

The 33-year-old Kim was disappointed when she found out this fight was in the APEX, where she has competed since her last victory, but she knows the eyeballs on her fight will be pulling for her to come out victorious.

Ji Yeon Kim of South Korea punches Nadia Kassem of Australia in their flyweight fight during the UFC 243 event at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Ji Yeon Kim of South Korea punches Nadia Kassem of Australia in their flyweight fight during the UFC 243 event at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Flying the Korean flag is something she does not take lightly, and giving her people something to cheer about is nearly as important as the victory itself.

“I have a pride of fighting (for and ) representing the Koreans,” she said. “I'm pretty proud of it, but at the same time nervous because I have a little pressure of representing all Korean fighters.”

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Kim has made a training home in Las Vegas, where she is under the direction of John Wood at Syndicate MMA. There, she enjoys the plethora of training partners on the mat, including Joanne Wood and Shanna Young.

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For this fight, she came to Vegas in December to start her camp in earnest, so with eight weeks of camp under her belt, she is feeling grounded and confident for her February 4 contest.

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Against Böhm, Kim is anticipating a good, standup battle. Böhm, who lost her first two UFC fights to Ariane Lipski and Victoria Leonardo, was undefeated coming into the promotion. Knowing Böhm is looking at Kim as her opportunity to earn her first UFC win and solidify herself a little more in the promotion, Kim is anticipating a fast opening from her opponent. However, since they both are fighters who prefer to strike, she is focusing on finding the small margins of advantage.

Ultimately, Kim just wants and needs a victory. For herself, for her fans and for her country. That brings nerves and pressure, of course, but she is welcoming it all on February 4.

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Spivac took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 4, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass