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Why bother showing up to a fight you cannot win?
Ok Rae Yoon was looked at as a sacrificial lamb on more than one occasion, a box that he’s been put in many times before. He was a heavy underdog against Marat Gafurov, a tune-up fight for the Russian berserker and hardly a threat at all. At least, that’s what many critics and fans thought.
But the ONE Championship brass knew what they had in Ok, a gritty combatant whose best performances come when the lights shine brightest.
The upstart Ok would wind up defeating Gafurov via unanimous decision, earning him a bout opposite a fan favorite in Eddie Alvarez. Again, the South Korean athlete was declared finished before even stepping into the Circle.
How could a relative unknown defeat a world-class, former champion like Alvarez? It seemed only Ok and his team knew the answer to such a question, as all was revealed through his performance in the fight.
“We both have certain percentages to win, right?,” Ok said, responding to a question about how no one thought he would win against Gafurov and Alvarez.
“I know that I didn’t compete against anyone famous yet up until Marat Gafurov. Probably many people didn’t know about me yet so I was able to show them by my performance and I was able to let my name be known by my performance.”
Ok would shock the doubters anew opposite Alvarez, edging out a decision victory which would earn him the moniker “Legend Killer.” Now, he stands before his tallest task to date, a main event matchup with reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee at ONE: Revolution, where Ok finds himself as a heavy underdog once more.
“I believe that Christian Lee will be fast and he will be explosive looking for that takedown,” Ok said, who now holds an identical record to Lee at 15-3.
“I’m envisioning it just like how I left the arena in my previous two bouts, but it’s just that a belt is [on the line now]. It’s the exact way I’m going to exit the arena, [with the belt around my waist.]”
If Ok is able to defeat Lee—who currently rides a 6-fight win streak—he may never shed the “Legend Killer” nickname, which, for Ok, is an amazing proposition. Winning the bout would make Ok the only reigning champion in a major promotion from South Korea, a title he believes will change the public’s perception around his abilities as an athlete.
“When I win on Friday night, I’m just curious about what people would think of my next bout after that—if I would still be the underdog or if I will be the top dog after that. I don’t really care, I don’t really mind.”
“I’m just going to focus on how I perform, that’s how I prove to the people that I’m on that level and probably it will change someday.”