3 Matchups For Doo Ho Choi Before Mandatory Military Leave
Doo Ho Choi is one of the brightest young prospects in the UFC’s Featherweight Division and he takes on long time UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens this Sunday January 14, in the main event of UFC Fight Night: St. Louis. The last time we saw “The Korean Superboy” in action was in his Fight of the Year barnburner, a back and forth brawl with perennial title contender Cub Swanson, one where he suffered the first loss of his UFC career.
Unlike most losses for UFC prospects, Choi’s loss to Swanson only raised his stock. It was a fight where his heart and true fighter’s spirit was on full display and even though he lost, he displayed an iron chin, excellent striking and cardio to go along with it. Choi is still seen as a future title contender to fans and media members alike. Alas, his home country of South Korea subjects its youth to a mandatory two-year military service, which will toss Doo Ho Choi’s athletic career to the sideline for a period of time.
Being one of the most exciting young fighters in the UFC, proposed matchups are thrown out often for Choi. Here are three matchup’s that we’d love to see Doo Ho Choi in before he embarks for his mandatory military service:
Michael “The Menace” Johnson
Michael Johnson has made his name primarily in the UFC’s lightweight division, being touted as one of the division’s best boxers, boasting wins over multiple top 10 talents such as Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza and current interim lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson. Johnson is making his debut in the featherweight division this Sunday, on the same card as Doo Ho Choi, against surging Team Alpha Male product Darren Elkins. A win for Johnson will most certainly land in him the division’s top 15 rankings, especially with a knockout, and if Choi were to come out victorious in his bout as well a matchup between the two would make perfect sense in a battle between two of the most talented power punches the division has to offer and one that we would love to see happen before Choi’s inevitable sidelining.
When speaking of the most talented prospects in the UFC’s featherweight division, Yair Rodriguez’s name is one that is brought up right alongside Doo Ho Choi as far the the brightest of the bunch. A talented, flashy and diverse striker, Yair Rodriguez shone on TUF: Latin America earning him the coveted UFC contract. Post Ultimate Fighter he went on a strong initial campaign winning five fights in a row en route to a top contender matchup with former lightweight champion and featherweight title contender Frankie Edgar where he suffered the first loss of his UFC career. “Pantera” hasn’t fought since suffering the loss to Edgar, but a fight with fellow top level prospect Doo Ho Choi in match between two young talented strikers is a Performance of the Night bonus waiting to happen. It is currently unclear when Rodriguez wishes to make his Octagon return but given that his fight with Edgar was nearly eight months ago, odds are we see him back sooner rather than later.
Jose Aldo is arguably the greatest featherweight of all time. Aldo held the belt for multiple years, turning in memorable title defenses against talented fighters such as Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas, among plenty of others. Following back to back stoppage losses over current champion Max Holloway, Jose Aldo’s future seems up in the air. It is unlikely that he challenges for the title anytime soon given his losses, and it seems he’ll need to build himself back up if he hopes to regain the belt that sat around his waist for so long. What intrigues me about a possible matchup with Doo Ho Choi is the fact that Choi originally called for a bout with Aldo before drawing Jeremy Stephens for UFC St. Louis. Choi stated he was eager to prove he was ready for a veteran of Aldo’s caliber and even after being booked against Stephen’s says it’s a fight he’s still looking toward in the future. The proposed matchup would be a doozy and one that makes plenty of sense down the line.