Former UFC fighter Sung Bin Choi, 31, is ready to take on a world-class opponent in his return to the Professional Fighters League.

The second round of the 2023 PFL light heavyweight (-93 kg) and featherweight (-66 kg) regular season will take place on June 9 at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Cho will face 2007 International Wrestling Federation World Youth Championships freestyle gold medalist Bubba Jenkins, 35, in an away featherweight bout.

Jenkins switched to mixed martial arts in 2011 after winning the NCAA Division I -71-kilogram tournament as a member of the Arizona State University wrestling team. “I’m a really strong athlete who can strike as well as grapple,” he admits, but he’s determined, “I don’t have three legs and I don’t have four arms.”

World Youth Wrestling Championship winner Bubba Jenkins (left) and three-time Japanese mixed martial arts champion Cho Sung-bin. Photo courtesy of the PFL
The PFL is considered the next best thing to the UFC in the U.S. since its World Series of Fighting days from 2012-2017. It operates its mixed martial arts tournaments in the manner of major sports, with a “league + playoffs” system to crown a champion.

Jenkins was the Brave (Bahrain) featherweight 메이저사이트 champion in 2018 and 2019 before entering the PFL in 2021, where he reached two consecutive playoff quarterfinals and was the runner-up in the 2022 season. “When I moved to mixed martial arts, I had a good record, but I kept thinking, ‘I’m the same person. If Jenkins is stronger than me, how strong is he?” he said, emphasizing his composure.

The top four finishers in the combined first and second rounds of the 2023 PFL featherweight regular season will qualify for the $1 million postseason. Cho needs to beat Jenkins to join the playoffs, as his opening bout with former UFC fighter Jesus Pinedo (27-Peru) fell through due to a Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioning issue.

Jenkins is as world-class in mixed martial arts as he is in wrestling, with the ranking system Fight Matrix ranking him as the No. 12 featherweight in the UFC in 2021. Cho was the featherweight champion of three Japanese promotions: A-Toys Challenge Fight in 2014, Wardog Cage Fight in 2015, and GLADIATOR in February 2023. He was the 2018 Korean TFC interim champion and made his UFC debut in 2019, also at featherweight.

“I think this is an opportunity for me to win,” said Cho, “and I will try to beat Jenkins, who is so strong.” The two were scheduled to fight in the first round of the 2022 PFL featherweight division, but Jenkins was sidelined due to an injury. The two had been analyzing each other for a while.

“I’m going to forget about the initial preparation and reorganize. I will try to play with a new strategy,” he said, expressing confidence that he is stronger in 2023 than he was last year. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ in the U.S. and IB SPORTS in Korea.

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