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Doo Ho Choi: Korean fighters ‘look like babies on the outside, but they have very exciting fighting styles’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

TORONTO – Of the most intriguing fighters on UFC 206, perhaps none comes into UFC 206 with more upside than Doo Ho Choi. As a South Korean fighter with three straight first-round finishes in the UFC, his waste-no-time brand of fighting has earned him a shot at a recognizable name in the featherweight division, Cub Swanson.

Swanson vs. "The Korean Superboy" is one of those fights that has plenty of shifting stakes in play. Either Swanson jumps back into contention in a division that just gained a semblance of clarity, or Choi uses him as a springboard to make his own name.

"I look at UFC 206 as an opportunity for me to get my name out there to the UFC fans," Choi said during the media day Thursday. "And going forward in the future I hope there will be more opportunities like that."

The 25-year-old Choi is a baby-faced killer in the cage. He has blasted through three opponents in short order — Juan Puig, whom he finished in 18 seconds; Sam Sicilia, who he put away in 93 seconds; and Thiago Tavares, whom he smoked in 2:42.

It’s made him an instant star in his native South Korea.

"Yes, I do have a huge fan base in Korea, but there are many similar Korean fighters as well," he told MMA Fighting. "They look like babies on the outside, but they have very exciting fight styles."

Though there’s not likely to be another Conor McGregor anytime soon, there are elements to Choi that are McGregor-esque. For starters, he does have his country behind him. He also wins fights dramatically.

The glaring difference being his complete lack of bombast. Choi isn’t likely to show up in a white mink coat, nor set the featherweight division on fire with his dismissive words.

Still, he thinks Korea might stand behind him as Ireland has the "Notorious" one.

"Even though I have a big fan base in Korean, with time I believe the entirety of Korea will follow all my fights," he said.

The one thing Choi does have is a killer instinct that kicks in when the cage door closes, which translates in all cultures.

"I always look to finish all my opponents in the first round," he said. "I build my strategy around that."