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From Taekwondo to MMA: The Inspiring Journey of ‘Mighty Warrior’ Kang Ji Won

Discover the inspiring journey of ‘Mighty Warrior’ Kang Ji Won, from Taekwondo to becoming a world title favorite in mixed martial arts. Read more about his story here.

Key Points
‘Mighty Warrior’ Kang Ji Won pursued his passion for martial arts and gave up a traditional working life
Taekwondo sparked his interest in combat sports, but it was mixed martial arts that he fell in love with
Kang Ji Won worked part-time jobs to fund his training and pursue his dream
After turning professional, he earned a spot in ONE Championship’s heavyweight roster
With three victories in the past two years, he is now a world title favorite

The Inspiring Journey of ‘Mighty Warrior’ Kang Ji Won

Like most martial arts athletes, ONE heavyweight superstar ‘Mighty Warrior’ Kang Ji Won gave up a more comfortable and traditional working life to pursue the one thing he loved more than anything.

As a teenager, the Geoje Island native spent most of his free time through sports, which kept him motivated as he didn’t enjoy any lessons in class.

Taekwondo was the first discipline that got him into the path that he enjoys today, but it wasn’t until he discovered mixed martial arts that he started falling in love with the combat sports realm.

Looking back on his early days, Kang Ji Won – who returns against unbeaten newcomer Ben Tynan at ONE Fight Night 16 on November 3 – admits it was tough but fulfilling.

He told ONE Championship:

“I would have questioned my purpose or meaning in life had I gone down that path [of becoming a 9-5 worker].”

Being an up-and-coming full-time athlete is never easy in any part of the world. With limited opportunities and the cost required to take on a training camp, the South Korean behemoth did question his decision at times.

Despite that, ‘Mighty Warrior’ put happiness above anything and took up some part-time jobs to fund his ambition. He would work before and after training sessions to have enough to get him through his monthly commitments.

In the same interview, he added:

“I knew that would be the right choice for me, and I’ve been walking this path ever since.”

That hard work was fittingly rewarded, and in a matter of five years, Kang Ji Won turned professional.

After piecing together a 3-0 run in the local circuit, the 28-year-old earned a calling to join the ranks of ONE Championship’s heavyweight roster.

With three victories from four fights over the past two years, ‘Mighty Warrior’ has established himself as a world title favorite. And an opportunity to contest for gold could perhaps turn to reality should he take out Tynan at ONE Fight Night 16 on November 3.

North American fans with an active Amazon Prime Video subscription can catch the entire bill live and for free in U.S. primetime.