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MMA: Kim, Hathaway pay tribute to Bruce Lee ahead of Macau showdown

Kim Dong-hyun (left) and John Hathaway square off in a press conference (above) and in front of the Bruce Lee statue on Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront (homepage) ahead of their headline welterweight showdown at UFC Fight Night Macao on Saturday. Press conference photos: SportAsia.

Kim Dong-hyun (left) and John Hathaway (right) square off in a press conference (above) and in front of the Bruce Lee statue on Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront (homepage) ahead of their headline welterweight showdown at UFC Fight Night Macao on Saturday. Press conference photos: SportAsia.

February 26, 2014: MMA stars Kim ‘Stun Gun’ Dong-hyun and John ‘The Hitman’ Hathaway both paid tribute to Bruce Lee during a visit to Hong Kong ahead of their welterweight showdown at UFC Fight Night Macao on Saturday.

 

Kim replicated classic Bruce Lee poses for the cameras.

Kim replicated classic Bruce Lee poses for the cameras.

Kim (18-2-1), No. 11 in the UFC welterweight rankings, and Hathaway (17-1) each revealed how they had been inspired by the legendary movie star, the pair having already posed for a photo in front of his statue on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.

 

To great amusement, Kim then seemed to be possessed by Lee’s spirit during a pre-fight press conference as the Korean animatedly replicated iconic poses for the cameras, before admitting how classic martial arts movies had inspired his fighting career.

 

“Bruce Lee was really important. What he represented really shaped the way I perceived martial arts and the way I grew with the sport,” said Kim, a judo specialist before moving into MMA.

 

“When I grew up, I watched a lot of Chinese martial arts movies – Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li. Those were the guys who really inspired me. I’ve always wanted to be the strongest and the best in terms of martial arts and they were part of the reason I am where I am now.”

 

20140226_Kim-Dong-hyun2_Sport-Asia.com_300The 32-year-old even revealed that in the lead-up to one of his early fights, he had worn a replica of the famous yellow and black-striped bodysuit Lee wore in Game of Death.

 

“Early on in my MMA career, when I was starting out, I would wear the famous yellow Bruce Lee outfit when I was making my way into the arena. I also had the nunchakus,” said Kim, who even had photo evidence on his phone.

 

“I’m quite good with nunchakus, but I won’t be using them in the warm-up on Saturday! I’m going to try to focus on my fight.”

 

Hathaway, who will be fighting in the Octagon for the first time in 18 months, also admitted he had been strongly influenced by Lee – who passed away in 1973 – despite growing up on England’s south coast.

 

“I watched pretty much all of his movies growing up,” Hathaway said. “It initially inspired me to get into martial arts during my early rugby days and then I found MMA, so it has taken off since then. I used to watch a lot – Iron Monkey, other Donnie Yen films and some of Jackie Chan’s old, original ones were really good as well.”

 

Kim played the Bruce Lee-inspired comedian to Hathaway’s straight man in a pre-fight press conference.

Kim played the Bruce Lee-inspired comedian to Hathaway’s straight man in a pre-fight press conference.

Hathaway, 26, believes Lee would have made a top MMA contender and was essentially a pioneer of mixed martial arts through his Jeet Kune Do philosophy, which favours the use of a wide range of fighting skills depending on the situation.

 

“He was an incredible athlete – incredibly strong, incredibly fast and he the dedication as well. When you look at Jeet Kune Do and the philosophies behind it, it’s very much like mixed martial arts so I think he would have done great in MMA,” said the Englishman. “I literally think you could say he was an MMA pioneer. Jeet Kune Do was a martial art in itself, but it was drawing from a lot of different martial arts.”

 

Saturday’s nine-bout card also features the first UFC heavyweight clash in Asia outside of Japan, with 35-year-old former NFL star Matt Mitrione (6-3) taking on 29-year-old Shawn Jordan (15-5), himself a former college standout in American football among other sports.

 

UFC Fight Night Macao is also hosting the finale of The Ultimate Fighter China television series, with Wang Sai taking on Zhang Lipeng in a three-round welterweight battle before Kim and Hathaway go head on in the night’s final fight.

 

Tickets can be booked online at www.CotaiTicketing.com, www.HKTicketing.com, www.macauticket.com

 

For more information, visit: www.ufc.com

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