On Saturday night, on the main card of UFC 206, South Korean featherweight prospect Doo Ho Choi will face the toughest test of his career in Cub Swanson. If he’s able to pass this test, he’ll move to 4-0 in the UFC’s crowded featherweight division, and emerge as a legitimate title contender.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a cloud hanging over Choi’s rapid rise up the featherweight ranks: he could soon be forced out of action to partake in two years of mandatory military service.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve heard it before. The South Korean government requires all men between the ages of 18 and 35 to complete two years of mandatory military service. It is this two years of military service that has kept fan favorite Chan Sung Jung – better known as “The Korean Zombie” – out of competition since 2013. Thankfully, he will soon return, when he takes on Dennis Bermudez in the main event of the UFC’s upcoming trip to Houston this February.
In a recent interview with TheMacLife.com, Choi touched on the possibility of this two-year hiatus from competition. While he admitted he’s trying not to think too much about it, he assured that he would use it as an opportunity to train and further develop his skills.
“I try not to think about it so much”, he said. “I’ve got about three years to play around. It is possible that I go to the military in three years but if I get to go then I know I can continue training within the military base, so I’m going to do that.”
Choi will enter his bout with Swanson having scored first round knockouts over Juan Manuel Puig, Sam Sicilia and Thiago Tavares in his first three bouts with the UFC. Swanson, meanwhile, defeated Hacran Dias and Tatsuya Kawajiri in his most recent bouts. Who do you think comes out on top when they’re locked in the cage together? Sound off, PENN Nation!