Dong Hyun Kim was known for his grinding wrestling style when he entered the cage to face Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil. When he left the cage that night in October 2013, he had scored his first knockout win since May 2008. The win marked the birth of a new and improved "Stun Gun."
The fight against Silva, Kim's 12th with the UFC, marked the first time he earned a Fight Night bonus, taking home $50,000 for Knockout of the Night. On Saturday, Kim using the same aggressive style he used against Silva, made it two bonus winning performances in a row when he knocked out John Hathaway, earning $50,000 for Performance of the Night.
The KO came at the 1:02 mark of the third round, and it came in brutal fashion. Hathaway stepped in to throw an elbow. He missed. Kim, who countered with a spinning back elbow did not miss. The strike landed with a sickening thud. Hathaway immediately fell unconscious to his back.
Social media quickly exploded, declaring the knockout an early frontrunner for Knockout of the Year.
When the fight began, Kim was ranked No. 11 in the UFC's welterweight division. The win, Kim's fourth in a row, should launch him into the top ten. Kim's new aggressive style has a great deal to do with that surge up the rankings. At the post-fight press conference he was asked why he went from a wrestling based style to a more wide-open striking style, "I've continued to stack up the wins, but I wasn't given a title shot, so I decided, in order to get a title shot, I had to change the way I fight. So, I decided to get much more aggressive and hopefully I'll get noticed, and get a shot at the title."
Now that Kim has gotten himself noticed as a striker, don't expect him to revert to his wrestling style, "There's no changing now," Kim said. "The Koreans are tough fighters and I am going to continue to press on no matter what, and I'm not going to be afraid of losses."
As for whom he would like to face next, Kim was blunt, "I don't care who my opponent is going to be." He added, "When it comes to matching up against wrestling, I don't think anyone can take me down, and if it means striking, whoever gets knocked out will get knocked out, but I will make sure that when I hit somebody I will be sure that I will knock somebody out."