Want to be in the main event of a historic UFC card against a former world champion? That’s not a question you get everyday.
So when Hyun Gyu Lim was offered the chance to headline Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 34 event, he thought the whole thing was a joke.
“Korean Top Team is full of jokesters, and we always play around with each other,” Lim told MMAjunkie through a translator. “So at first, when they told me that unfortunately Jake Ellenberger got hurt and I was going to be elevated to the main event, I didn’t believe it. I thought they were joking. I didn’t believe it until after my coach told me it was true.”
Lim will headline the show, the first to kick off UFC Fight Pass, the UFC’s new digital network, available on desktop and laptop computers.
Saffiedine is the former Strikeforce welterweight champion. He won the title by defeating UFC veteran Nate Marquardt, picking him apart with one of the most impressive leg kick displays in recent MMA sport. Saffiedine was scheduled to fight Ellenberger, who famously knocked out Jake Shields in the UFC. Ellenberger, however, was injured and had to pull out of the fight.
Saffiedine, 14-3, will face Lim, 12-3, at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
After realizing that the fight offer was legitimate, Lim jumped at the chance to fight the former champion.
“I watched a couple of his fights, especially when he beat Nate Marquardt to become the Strikeforce champion,” Lim said. “I wouldn’t say he was on my radar, but that was a good fight.”
Saffiedine never lost the Strikeforce championship. He will go down as the last Strikeforce welterweight champion, holding the strap when the UFC shut the company down a year ago.