Former PRIDE middleweight competitor Denis Kang has signed a four fight contract, American Top Team officials revealed Monday.
“Denis has always expressed a desire to fight in the UFC and we are very happy he will finally get the chance to showcase his skills to a whole new audience of fans,” an ATT official said in a statement released to the Underground forum. “He will be a great addition to the 185 pound division!”
Kang, 31-10-1, at one point was ranked as a top ten middleweight by all of the major rankings polls in existence. The former PRIDE superstar earned a reputation as one of the best in the world with notable victories over Andrei Semenov, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, Amar Suloev, and Akihiro Gono.
However, after suffering three losses over the span of four fights, Kang’s reputation as a world class fighter began to suffer. Following a unanimous decision loss to Kazuo Misakiat PRIDE Bushido 13, Kang defeated Jung Gyu Choi via unanimous decision in South Korea while competing for the Spirit MC promotion.
The Canadian native of half-Korean heritage then suffered back-to-back losses while competing for K-1 HERO’s and DREAM.
Considered the favorite against Yoshihiro Akiyama going into a highly-anticipated K-1 HERO’s bout in Korea last October, Kang was knocked out in dramatic fashion at 4:45 of round 1. He returned to the ring in his debut for DREAM at DREAM 2 this past April, losing to eventual DREAM middleweight Grand Prix champion Gegard Mousasi via triangle choke submission at 3:10 of round 1.
Kang became a free agent following the loss to Mousasi and has gone 2-0 since that time, with his most recent win coming against former UFC veteran Marvin Eastman. Competing for the Raw Combat promotion in Canada on Oct. 25, Kang recorded a first round TKO over Eastman just 48 seconds into the fight.
The 31-year old has tremendous upside and with a few high-profile victories, Kang could find himself in the thick of the UFC middleweight title picture.