Skip to main content
Athletes

Seungwoo Choi Eyes The Upper Ranks

South Korean Featherweight Captures Some Momentum, Looks To Move Upwards

“It was such a good time. I spent time with family, rested, met up with friends. Tried my best to recover completely.”

SeungWoo Choi is recounting how he’s spent the four or so months since his June win over Julian Erosa. All wins feel great, of course, but that one was worth a little extra victory lap.

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori

“I was really happy to knock him out,” he smiles. It’s nothing personal against Erosa, but his first-round KO was Choi’s first finish victory since 2017 and his first under the UFC banner. It also earned an extra $50,000 from the bosses who awarded him Performance of the Night.

“I’ll try my best to do it again,” he says at the risk of stating the obvious.

Indeed, Choi and his team were over the moon backstage that night, and rightfully so. “Sting” had gone from watching UFC fights as a child, to playing the fighters in UFC video games, to training MMA and not only earning a spot in the world’s premier promotion but knocking out other top-tier athletes. And despite being five fights deep in a promising featherweight career, he’s lost none of his youthful enthusiasm for the company he now fights for. Always effervescent and quick with a laugh, it’s hard to talk to Choi and not come away feeling a little better.

“Of course, I’m still a big fan! I’ll be a fan until I die,” he declares with earnest glee. “And I’m proud of myself for getting here.”

As he should be. Choi has put together a strong three-fight win streak in an unforgiving division, and he has been awarded with his toughest task to date. Choi will meet Alex Caceres on a high-profile main card assignment Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Costa vs Vettori.

Despite being only five years his senior, Caceres came into the UFC when Choi was 18 years-old, back in 2011. Choi recalls watching “Bruce Leeroy” on television back then, unaware that he was beginning his research on a future matchup.

Highlight: SeungWoo Choi's 1st Round KO | UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs Ige
Highlight: SeungWoo Choi's 1st Round KO | UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs Ige
/

“Yes, I watched all of them,” Choi says of Caceres’ catalog. “He’s a veteran fighter, so there’s lots of footage. I think I’m plenty prepared for the bout. I will push him constantly, back-and forth, back-and-forth. Then I’ll wait for the right time to hit him. I think he’s a really good fighter to fight against. I hope he’s aggressive.”

HOW TO WATCH UFC 267: BLACHOWICZ vs TEIXEIRA

He can almost certainly bank on that. Like Choi, Caceres is riding a win streak into Las Vegas—four fights to be exact—which equals his longest of his career and is his longest since entering the UFC. Given the ups and downs Caceres has experienced in his journey, he’ll be none too eager to give up his momentum now. Choi understands this, and he recognizes the matchup is a sign that the UFC has confidence in his abilities.

“Yes. I recognize it,” he says. “I felt it when they offered me the fight. And I want to make sure their decision and their faith in me was right. I’ll try my best to keep doing this—to keep getting better opponents -- every time.”

One of those potential opponents is already in his crosshairs: Georgian featherweight sensation Giga Chikadze, who Choi called out at the post-fight presser following his Erosa KO last June. With Chikadze currently ranked No. 8 and Choi still unranked, that matchup might be a little farther down the road. But hey, this is MMA, and the unexpected happens as often as it doesn’t. No harm in shooting your shot.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him in the Octagon. I want to be able to say I’m a fighter who can not only fight against him, but also a fighter who can beat him.”

Those are lofty goals, to be sure, but it’s Choi’s more immediate goals that could put him on that path.

“I want to get into the Top 15 and fight someone in the Top 15.”

Another big win on Saturday against a gamer like Caceres, and Choi would be in excellent position to make that happen. Then, eyeing a potential return in Spring 2022, Choi can kick back and end the year like the rest of us: as a fan.

He already has UFC 269 circled on his calendar so he can plan to be in front of the television when Dustin Poirier goes for lightweight gold.

VIDEO: Rise Of Marvin Vettori

“He’s my favorite fighter and he always shows something even better than what I expected. I always really enjoy watching him.

“Someday I want to meet him in person. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet. I’m not a hot sauce person, but I’ll buy it and eat it if it means I can meet Dustin Poirier.”