DGS Main Event MMA Rookie of the Year: Doo Ho Choi
Ok, before you all attack me I know that Doo Ho Choi is far from a rookie in MMA. But let me explain…
With a solid seven years in his professional career, the 25-year old featherweight went from being one of those underrated fighters in the UFC to bordering overrated in a matter of two fights in 2016. Therefore, I couldn’t give him underrated fighter of the year or overrated (cause he’s not quite there either). But the “Korean Super Boy” deserved some serious acknowledgement in 2016, so here we are.
You got me, yet?
I had been familiar with Choi since he made his UFC debut in 2014, but I didn’t give him nearly enough credit until he faced Thiago Tavares at The Ultimate Fighter 23: Finale in July and KO’d him halfway through the first frame.
All I could think was, “This kid who looked like he’s cutting math class to do this fight just blew me away.” Then I hung my head in shame and hoped aboard the super boy train.
As any smart, young fighter aiming to make his way up in the rankings should do, he took this impressive victory against a vet in the sport and topped it off with a call-out of top ranked UFC featherweight, Cub Swanson. The UFC granted Choi is wish and the two were set to meet at UFC 206 in Toronto, Canada in December.
And BOYYY did they meet!
Easily a contender for ‘Fight of the Year’, these two went back and forth for three solid rounds, truly proving that Choi has the durability to hang with the best in not just the division, but the sport. After three rounds, Swanson picked up the unanimous decision victory, but both picked up a well-deserved $50k for ‘Fight of the Night’.
I won’t lie to you, I’m nervous to see how Choi comes back from this loss in 2017. I believe a stoppage loss would have helped him more than enduring a battle like that for 15 minutes with one of the greats, but until we see him again in the octagon, soak up what you accomplished in 2016, Choi.
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