Before he's even set foot in the Octagon, there's been a good deal of hype surrounding Korean Top Team (KTT) welterweight Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1).
Beyond entering tonight's bout on a 5-fight win streak, all of which concluded in the 1st round (4 TKOs, 1 submission), "Ace" was deemed "one of the most talented fighters in Korea" by KTT stablemate and former UFC middleweight Dongi Yang, and KTT's elite featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung, aka "The Korean Zombie," trumpeted Lim as "probably the best all around fighter on our team."
The lanky 170-pounder -- who stands 6'2" tall, imposes a jaw-dropping 82" reach and walks around at approximately 200 pounds -- also got some press when he was rumored to have tapped out UFC commentator Joe Rogan in a training session, which Rogan later confirmed to be "a sweet triangle/armbar combination."
But that was only training, and it's far from unusual for teammates to drizzle praise on one another. Lim's true trial to validate himself will come tonight on the Facebook portion of the UFC on Fuel TV 8 event, where he faces the unbeaten Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1).
With the assistance of his manager Brian "Shug" Rhee, Hyun Gyu Lim took some time out to answer a few questions in the hours leading up to his long awaited Octagon debut.
Dallas Winston: Do you feel like you have even more to prove since you were forced off the UFC Macau card?
Hyun Gyu Lim: Definitely. I am really embarrassed about what happened in Macau, so I'm looking to make up for it tonight. I want to make sure that the fans and the UFC know that I'm serious about my job.
D.W.: Explain what happened with your weight cut before the Fuel TV 6 show in Macau?
H.G.L.: My body just couldn't handle the cut. The day before the weigh ins, I collapsed in the sauna. People are saying that I almost died, but that's a pretty big stretch. Even immediately after I collapsed, they took me to a hospital that was right next door to the spa in the hotel, and all my vital signs were normal. I normally cut quite a bit of weight, but it was the first time that's ever happened to me.
D.W.: How did the cut go this time around?
H.G.L.: It went really well this time. I actually made weight earlier than expected and I feel great now!
D.W.: What changes, if any, did you make to your weight-cutting regimen?
H.G.L.: I started cutting earlier than usual. I wanted to make sure that I came into the last few days before the fight without as much weight to cut. Like I mentioned, it worked out very well.
D.W.: Your thoughts on Guimaraes as a fighter, what he does best and what advantages you'll have?
H.G.L.: He's got a very solid ground game and I'm sure he'll want to push me against the cage and try to take me down. I'm confident in my ground game, but I always like to keep it standing. I think my striking is the best part of my game, so I'll try to keep it on the feet and knock him out.
D.W.: Most are familiar with your striking but can you tell us about your submission grappling background?
H.G.L.: I was originally a boxer, but I've been a mixed martial artist for a long time now. At Korean Top Team, wrestling is the base of everything. So I'm absolutely comfortable on the ground. I've also won national BJJ tournaments, so I think my grappling is solid. We train hard at KTT and we spar a lot. There are international level wrestlers and Judokas that train with us as well, so I won't have any problems if the fight goes to the ground.
D.W.: What impression do you hope to make on the fans watching you for the first time?
H.G.L.: Well, I hope to give them a good show. We have a very aggressive style at Korean Top Team so I hope to end the fight quickly and violently.