Ok Rae Yoon has risen through MMA at a blistering pace, but it was a path that he almost chose not to pursue. 

The former ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion resumes his quest to get back on top of the stacked division when he takes on promotional newcomer Alibeg Rasulov at ONE Fight Night 23 on Friday, July 5, inside the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, and he’s been discussing his journey with ONE Championship.

Ok Rae Yoon reflects on how he improved his skillset after starting late


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Ok began in MMA at 23, which would be considered old by many in the combat sports world. But his natural athleticism helped him pick it up quickly.

“At that age, becoming a professional athlete seemed way too late. I really believed becoming a professional athlete was not an option for me. So I committed to my MMA training as a hobby while studying in school. I would train at night after classes,” he recalled.

“After about four or five months of training, maybe because I was generally quite athletic and picking up the skills quite fast, I wanted to try competing.”

The South Korean slugger enjoyed training so much that he soon decided to test his skills against others. 

Unfortunately, his first match didn’t exactly go as planned.

“I went for my first amateur fight and lost quite quickly from an armbar. I knew that I had lost not because I was a poor athlete but because I was not skilled enough,” Ok said. 


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“I really wanted to win in an amateur fight, so I trained extremely hard for my second fight. Because of this, I competed again and again.”

Rae Yoon’s impressive records

While lesser men would have quit after such a confidence-crushing loss, Ok used it to fuel his motivation to become the best. 


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Ten years on, he’s amassed an impressive 17-4 slate, held the ONE Lightweight MMA World Title, and scored wins against MMA veteran Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez and current two-division ONE World Champion Christian Lee.

The Team MAD athlete will be looking to add to his story – and his win total – when he returns to action against Rasulov at ONE Fight Night 23, and their battle promises to be fireworks as both compete for consideration in the talent-laden lightweight MMA ranks.