Earlier this month, after beating Saori Ishioka by armbar on November 3rd in Tokyo and successfully defending her Deep Jewels atomweight title, the UFC signed South Korea’s Seo Hee Ham. As the first and only Korean female in the UFC, she’s coming in hot off six consecutive wins—two by armbar submission and four by unanimous decision—and an overall professional mixed martial arts record of 15 wins and 5 losses. Her notable wins include triumphs over Misaki Takimoto, Mika Nagano and Mei Yamaguchi. She currently stands as the second best atomweight in the world according to the Unified Women’s Mixed Martial Arts Rankings.
27 years old and fighting out of Busan, before joining the ranks among mixed martial artists, Seo Hee Ham trained in kickboxing since 2004. Her record in the sport stands at eight wins to three losses. Tough as nails, Seo See Ham is a veteran of Smackgirl, Deep, ROAD FC and Jewels. She also has one of the greatest nicknames a fighter has ever had. Granted that it is a relatively obvious choice, it works perfectly. “Hamderlei Silva,” as she is known, received that nickname after several comparisons were drawn between her fighting style and that of the very controversial and outspoken Brazilian legend Wanderlei Silva in his Japan days.
The way Hamderlei stares her opponents down before a fight, no matter their size, is just how Wandy would: poised and calm yet explosive, with eyes locked and unbending, ready to detonate as soon as the mark is given. The moment the fight starts, she speeds powerfully forth with unrelenting flurries of punches, just like Wandy. When her opponents are on the ground, she stalks around them, teasing them a little with kicks, like Wandy.
She’s also got a playful side, but don’t be fooled by that. In Japan she’s affectionately referred to as Arale-chan, because of her appearance and demeanor mirroring that of the Arale Norimaki character from the manga series Dr. Slump. She's also a great dancer, see for yourself; her entrances are like a party.
She isn’t yet scheduled to fight in the UFC, but fighting at 106 pounds, Hamderlei will most likely face a tough size disadvantage when she competes in the UFC’s 115 pound strawweight division—a league stacked with fresh talent like Kailin Curran, Claudia Gadelha, Rose Namajunas, Paige Van Zant and Carla Esparza—but her speed and power should allow her to keep her head above the strawweight waters for a bit longer than just a second. Hamderlei is a fighter to watch, another intriguing signing by the UFC in their attempts to further popularize mixed martial arts and women’s divisions. Stay tuned to Fightland for updates about her UFC debut.
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