Korean Falcon Soars

Korean Falcon Soars into PFL’s 2021 Season

Korean Falcon Soars
Taekwondo Trained MMA Sensation, Korean Falcon by Seung Hyun Kim

February 17, 2021 (Seoul Korea)-  Korean Falcon Soars into PFL’s 2021 Season. On February 3, 2021 the Professional Fighter’s League (PFLMMA) announced its 2021 return to fighting after cancelling its 2020 season due to the Global Pandemic.  As part of its expanded card of exciting fighters the organization announced that Jo Sungbin, aka the Korean Falcon, would be joining the quest for the $1 million purse in the Featherweight division.  

Korean Falcon Soars
1st Korean PFL Fighter

Jo Sungbin is the first Korean fighter signed to the PFL.   The 28 year old sensation has a 9-1 professional record.  Rumors abounded about where this free agent would land after leaving the UFC, after just one fight.   It seems he has found a new home with this “fighter friendly” MMA organization.

We reached out to this Taekwondo trained fighter in Seoul for this exclusive interview.  We look forward to following every round of action as the PFL 2021 season gets under way on April 23rd.  Watch here for news as the Korean Falcon soars into PFL’s 2021 season.

We are pleased to bring you Jo Sungbin’s responses in English and Korean, his native language, thanks to Olympic sports reporter and correspondent, Daeho Kang, in Korea.

#Q1. How did you get started in martial arts practice? Can you tell us a little about your journey?

It is because of the Japanese animation “Fighting Spirit”, which is the main character of the boxer.  I fell in love with the main character setting goals to achieve his dream, sweating, exercising hard. There was an MMA gym near my house. That’s why I started.

* Fighting Spirit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajime_no_Ippo

복서가 주인공인 일본 애니메이션 Fighting Spirit(はじめの一歩) 때문이다. 주인공이 꿈을 이루기 위해 목표를 세우고 땀흘리며 열심히 운동하면서 꿈을 이뤄가는 모습에 반했다. 마침 집 주변에 종합격투기(MMA) 체육관이 있었다. 그래서 시작하게 됐다.

#Q2. Did you study Taekwondo? If yes, how did it help your move into Professional MMA?

Of course. Taekwondo’s steps and kicks are also helpful as a mixed martial arts fighter.

물론이다. 태권도의 스텝과 발차기는 종합격투기 선수로서도 도움이 된다.

#Q3. What attracted you to Professional MMA?

Mixed martial arts does not end with only one martial art being good at it. With the combination of various techniques and martial arts, I feel that there is no end to learning and learning.

When I overcome these difficulties and win, I feel joy that I cannot express in any words.

종합격투기는 하나의 무술만 잘한다고 되는 것이 아니다. 여러 기술과 종목이 조합되다 보니 배우고 배워도 끝이 없다는 것을 절실히 느끼고 있다. 이런 어려움을 극복하고 승리를 거두면 말로 표현할 수 없을 만큼 정말 좋다.
Korean Falcon, Jo Sungbin
Korean Falcon, Jo Sungbin by Seung Hyun Kim

#Q4. How did you get the nickname “Korean Falcon”?

When I caught a chance to win, I didn’t miss the chance to decide the game and someone told me that I looked like Falcon. As such reactions increased one by one, my nickname naturally became Falcon.

* Jo Sungbin won all nine mixed martial arts games before going to a decision. (4 SUBMISSION 5 KO/TKO)

Falcon은 사냥감을 발견하면 다른 어떤 새보다 빠르게 날아가 먹잇감을 낚아챈다. 내가 승리할 기회를 포착하면 놓치지 않고 경기를 결정짓는 모습을 보고 언젠가부터 Falcon 같다는 얘기가 나왔고 자연스럽게 닉네임이 됐다.

#Q5. What did you learn during your time in the UFC?

I really trained a lot in physical aspects such as physical strength and skill to advance to UFC. However, when I fought in the UFC, I realized that I was missing the most important thing. I realized that it was important to maintain an unwavering mind in any situation. Therefore, I am still learning mental management and mind control from experts.

UFC에 진출하기 위해 체력과 기술 등 육체적인 면에서 정말 많이 훈련했다. 그런데 막상 UFC에서 싸워보니 가장 중요한 것을 놓치고 있다는 것을 알게 됐다. 어떤 상황에서도 흔들리지 않는 마음을 유지하는 것이 중요하다는 것을 깨달았다. 지금도 전문가로부터 멘탈 관리 등을 배우고 있다.

#Q6. After you left the UFC there were numerous rumors about you going to other organizations-How did you end up signing with the PFL?

“Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim received a lot of help from a Korean-American dentist when he was at UFC, including interpreting, filling out contract documents, and booking accommodations.

I am learning a lot at the Seoul gym run by Stun Gun. The dentist also helped me sign a contract with PFL.

UFC 한국인 스타 “Stun Gun” 김동현은 미국에서 활동할 때 네바다주에서 활동하는 한국계 치과의사로부터 통역, 계약 서류 작성, 숙소 예약 등 많은 도움을 받았다. 나는 김동현이 운영하는 서울 체육관에서 가르침을 받고 있다. 그 치과의사는 내가 PFL과 계약하는 데에도 도움을 줬다.

#Q7. What does it mean to you and to Korea that you are the 1st Korean Fighter signed by the PFL?

South Korea is a small but big country. Although its territory is only 109th in the world, its population is 27th and its nominal gross domestic product is 10th in the world as of October 2020. K-pop is gaining global popularity as well as Asia.

I also want to let the U.S. know that Korea is a small but big country with a good performance in PFL.

한국은 작지만 큰 나라다. 면적은 세계 109위 밖에 안 되지만 인구는 27위, 명목상 국내총생산(GDP)은 2020년 10월 기준 세계에서 10번째다. K-POP는 아시아는 물론이고 국제적인 인기를 얻고 있다. 나도 PFL에서 좋은 활약을 펼쳐 작지만 큰 한국이라는 나라를 미국에 알리고 싶다.

#Q8. You are currently 9-1 Professionally. What is your goal for the 2021 PFL MMA season?

No fighter goes abroad to lose the game. I also go to America to win. Of course, my final goal is to win the

Korean Falcon Soars
Korean Falcon Soars

2021 PFL featherweight tournament and win 1 million dollars, but I will focus on the league match first.

경기에 지려고 다른 나라까지 가는 선수는 없다. 나 또한 이기려고 미국에 간다. 최종 목표는 2021 PFL 페더급 토너먼트 우승과 100만 달러 획득이지만 우선은 리그에 집중하겠다.

#Q9. Anything else you want to tell our audience?

Yi Sun-sin is the greatest admiral in Korean history. Admiral Yi won the biggest victory in the history of the Korean naval battle after saying, “If you want to die, you will live, and if you want to live, you will die.”  

424 years ago, the South Korean Navy had only 13 ships, while Japan had 133 ships. However, the South Korean Navy, impressed by Admiral Yi’s determined attitude, overwhelmed Japan.

Like Admiral Yi, I will also fight in the PFL with the mindset of “If you want to die, you will live, and if you want to live, you will die.“

Taekwondo is the representative martial art of Korea. I will show confident performance to Taekwondo lovers in the U.S. in PFL. Please give me lots of interest and support.

이순신 장군은 ‘죽고자 하면 살 것이고, 살고자 하면 죽을 것(必死則生 必生則死)’이라고 말하고 명량해전에서 역사에 길이 남을 대승을 거뒀다. 나 또한 이런 비장한 마음으로 PFL 경기에 임할 생각이다.
태권도는 한국을 대표하는 무술이다. 미국에서 태권도를 사랑하는 분들에게 부끄럽지 않은 경기력을 PFL에서 보여주겠다. 많은 관심과 응원을 부탁한다.
Korean Falcon
Korean Falcon
-Interview by Marc Zirogiannis (translation by Daeho Kang)
                                                                                                              Photos by Seung Hyun Kim

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