Having been involved in a bruising 15-minute war with Cub Swanson that was called the "2016 Fight of the Year," Choi wisely took the decision to rest up and head back to his home country to heal and train. Speaking exclusively to Champions.co through translators earlier this week, Choi revealed what he’d been up to since the fight and spoke about his upcoming return.
“I think it was a great fight and I’m glad everyone enjoyed it,” Choi said. “I look at it as a valuable experience for me, too, and I’ve reflected on it a lot already. I’ve spent time thinking a lot about what I lacked in the fight and the areas I should improve on. I’m currently concentrating on making myself a better fighter. Outside of fight, I recently got married in February and now I’m a family man.”
Having called out Cub Swanson before the fight, some in the MMA community suggested that Choi may have bitten off more than he could chew and that he would now be regretting it. Regret, however, is the furthest thing from Choi’s mind and the South Korean believes that sharing the cage with Swanson was an invaluable experience
“I have no regrets—not at all,” Choi said. “I took back a lot of learning from that fight. I’ve never regretted calling Cub out and I’m still a great fan of his. I’m now fully recovered from the fight and I’ve got no long-term injuries or anything like that. I look back on it [the fight] proudly and I know the UFC [bosses] liked it.”
Choi’s next fight will take place at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California. His opponent, Andre Fili, will provide more stiff competition, but Choi is focused on just one thing and one thing only—himself.
“It doesn’t matter who my opponent is,” Choi said. “Don't get me wrong, I respect him, but this fight is about showing the improvements I’ve made. I’m glad to be fighting in the US again. My fans in America can expect to see a much improved fighter next time I’m in the Octagon. I feel truly blessed to have so many support from the fans and I’m going to put on a performance they will remember.”
With his name well and truly established in the featherweight division, Choi is now focused on working his way up the ranks and challenging the big names. At just 26-years-old, Choi knows there’s no rush and he’s planning to take it one fight at a time in 2017.
“I think Aldo, Holloway, McGregor are all champions and great athletes,” Choi said. “That is where I want to get to. I aim to fight two times this year and my goal is to overcome my weaknesses and make improvements from my last fight. Being an unbeaten fighter may sound good, but my goal is to become the best fighter. I can’t wait to show everyone the new Korean Superboy.”
#UFC214 will go down on July 29 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The card will be headlined by UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier taking on Jon Jones.