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Debate

Will a win over Kang Ji Won cement Kirill Grishenko's place among MMA's elite?

Kirill Grishenko is determined to fight his way back to another shot at the ONE MMA gold, and that climb begins with ‘Mighty Warrior’ Kang Ji Won at ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov on Prime Video.

The two heavyweight behemoths are set to collide this Friday, July 5 in U.S. primetime at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. And the Belarusian is hoping it would be the first step towards his journey to a title shot.

Grishenko is’ thrilled’ to be facing Kang next

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A prodigiously gifted athlete with world-class wrestling skills, Grishenko racked up a pair of impressive wins in ONE to earn a shot at the ONE Interim Heavyweight MMA World Title back in 2022.

Poll of the day

Do you think Kirill Grishenko has what it takes to become a world champion?

Absolutely

Not yet

He needs more experience

No way

The Belarusian would lose to current three-division king Anatoly ‘Sladkiy’ Malykhin and, six months later, suffered a stunning submission loss to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida.

Since that loss, Grishenko has been diligently working on refining both his striking and ground game.

Against Kang, he’ll be facing one of the division’s most feared knockout artists – a true brawler with a 100 percent finishing rate.

Grishenko knows he’s in for a tough fight but is happy to be taking on a man who is consistently at the upper echelon of the heavyweight MMA division.

“When I was offered the fight with Kang, I was thrilled. He’s a tough guy with excellent striking skills. I consider him a top contender in our division, and this fight won’t be easy. I’m training hard and fired up for this challenge,” he said.

“We started preparing two-and-a-half months before the fight, as soon as we knew the date, so we had more than enough time. Since the opponent is a striker, we are ready to fight in the stand-up, but if the fight goes to the ground, we won’t fail there either,” he added.

Despite his two-fight skid, Grishenko remains undeterred and has his eyes on the prize.

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Grishenko determined to become champion despite setbacks

After all, he says, he’s still relatively new to the sport of MMA, and his losing streak will only be a blip in the long and accomplished career ahead of him:

“First and foremost, I want to test myself, overcome all challenges to the maximum, and look back and see a huge and awesome track record behind me.

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“I just love this sport, and I know I’m just starting to open up in it. I’ve been in MMA for only three-and-a-half years, and that’s not much yet.

“This victory will mark my return, the beginning of my journey to the top. I have a goal to become a champion, and I will definitely achieve it – you’ll see!”