Catching Up With... DENIS KANG

Written by: Keith Mills

ADCC News has been keeping an eye on the career of Denis Kang for years now with interviews and articles in the archive going back almost three years. Currently he is ranked ADCC News? #8 Middleweight and is the champion in Spirit MC, a show in Korea starting to get attention in the rest of the world. He is also getting to be a big name in Russia since fighting in M-1 starting last December. Last December he fought UFC vet and now M-1 tournament champion Andrei Semenov in what was first ruled to be a controversial decision victory for Semenov but what has since been overturned to be a draw. This December Kang returned to Russia for what was scheduled to be a fight against the other top Red Devil Middleweight, UFC and Pride vet Amar Suloev but ended up Kang against a very good but lesser known Alexei Veselovzorov. Now as the year ends Kang is moving forward with his career as he prepares to join the American Top Team, the team that has brought the world Dustin Denes, Marcus Aurelio, Hermes Franca, Din Thomas, and the list goes on and on. KM: I didn?t hear much about your fight in M-1 in Moscow. How did that go? DK: It went well. I would rather have fought Amar Suloev but apparently he hurt his hand so they pushed it to Alexei Veselovzorov. He was the one who beat Brad Lynde in St. Petersburg (note: December 5th 2003). He has a strong karate background so he has that awkward standup. The fight started with exchanging combinations back and forth. I landed a good one on him and he shot in and right away I locked my arms in a rolling choke. I rolled and clinched it and that was it, he tapped. I don?t know if the crowd really knew what happened, they weren?t even clapping when I stood up and he tapped.KM: I noticed that was really short, like a minute or two. DK: A minute fifteen or something.KM: Was that your fastest this year? DK: I fought some quick ones as well but that was one of the fastest. KM: When did they switch the opponent? DK: About a week before.KM: Was that enough time to change strategy or training? DK: The strategy stayed the same, I never really change my strategy much. I had some tapes of the guy. He was a standup guy as well. The only thing I did different is I did a little more guillotine defense because I knew he was good at that, he has a bunch of wins by guillotine. KM: You do that and Spirit MC. How would you compare your M-1 experience to Spirit MC? DK: They are about the same. You have to remember in Korea it is a little different because any show they have I?m usually the star of the show. In M-1 there was a big Heavyweight tournament. Didn?t really matter, they do everything about the same. Different country to say the least. First of all it is really cold. Second of all going from like the hotel to the outside of the street is really different. You think everything outside is going to be the same as in the hotel. Overall it was nice. We took some tours of the museums, it was really interesting.KM: So you did have some down time? DK: Yes. We stayed two days after actually. Had some fun. Oh, man it was cold though.KM: Would you say you were treated as well as other shows like Spirit MC? DK: Oh, yeah. KM: I?m trying to figure out if you would prefer the headline status of Spirit MC or the adventure and bigger names of M-1. DK: I prefer them both. If it was Russia I would really like to fight either Suloev or even Semenov. It is also Russia itself. Russia itself has a little bit of a mystique to it. Just having a fight in Russia, everybody knows how tough it is over there. It gives it more of an international flavor. The thing is next year Spirit MC are going to start brining all foreigners for me to fight in Spirit MC like Japanese and probably other Russians as well. KM: Good. When is the next Spirit MC fight? DK: February. KM: Any idea who your opponent is yet? DK: No idea. KM: Do you train with Shane Rice? DK: No, he is all the way back on the other side of the country. I know him but don?t train with him.KM: Sorry, I saw you were both listed as Epic Fight Team. DK: He is one of the guys on the other side of the country. One thing I do want to mention next month I?m moving to Florida to train with American Top Team. KM: Allright! How long are you going to be down there? DK: Probably at least a year or two. I?ll probably be there starting January 13th. KM: Just in time to get settled before AFC on February 12th. DK: I?ll be there for that.KM: Until you move are you wrapping up your training with like Jason MacDonald and all? DK: The only problem is I love those guys and I love training with them but they live in different cities. Jason MacDonald lives in a different province. Bill Mahood lives an eight hour drive north. It is hard to get together all the time. I?m fighting at a level now where I need to have fighters all the time there with me. Those guys have families so it is hard for them to make the commitment to train all the time. Its not fair to them to come down. I think its better for me to go there.KM: So is it accurate to say you are joining the American Top Team? DK: You can say that, of course. It has nothing to do with?there is no bad blood between me and Marcus Soares. He understands the way it is. I?m going down there to train with a different team but he is always going to be one of my jiu-jitsu coaches. He?ll probably still accompany me along to my fights as a corner as well.