The UFC is going to lose one of its most promising prospects soon
We have a year to enjoy Doo Ho Choi in the UFC before he goes off.
Knockout artist Doo Ho Choi has about a year to make a splash in the UFC's featherweight division. In 2019, the 'Korean Superboy' must put his fight career on hold to do mandatory military service in his native South Korea.
This won't be the first time the UFC lost a fighter to conscription in the prime of his career. After losing a featherweight title shot to Jose Aldo, Choi's compatriot Chan Sung Jung left to do two years military service.
'The Korean Zombie' wasn't seen inside the Octagon for three-and-a-half years. However, his return against Dennis Bermudez in Houston was certainly worth the wait. It took him just half a round get the knockout.
Choi (14-2, 3-1 UFC) has scored first-round knockouts in all of his UFC appearances so far bar one. The only exception was 2016's Fight of the Year against Cub Swanson.
This weekend, Choi will return to the Octagon 13 months after that loss to Swanson. He faces heavy-handed Jeremy Stephens (26-14, 13-13 UFC) in UFC St Louis' main event. Although time is running out before he leaves for military service, he told Ariel Helwani that he's just taking each fight as they come.
"I'm just going to take it one fight at a time for 2018. I don't feel pressured or stressed because I know two years is a long time for some, but for me, I know I'm going to use that time to grow as a fighter. Within those two years, I'm not going to lose any fans, they're going to be there supporting me. I train with Korean Zombie, even after he left the military and he says that he's actually an even better athlete than he was before left for the military."
Let's just enjoy the ride while it lasts. If Choi decides to come back to the cage, here's hoping he makes a Korean Zombie-like return to fighting. There is a changing of the guard going on at 145 lbs right now and Choi is one of those contenders who could be vying for the belt in the near future.