When “Korean Thunder” Ryan Kim Cafaro was just beginning his career as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter, Scott “the Animal” Heckman (26-8) was fighting in main events and trying to pave his own path to a UFC contract. Heckman it seemed, had always been on the cusp of the big show, but was never given the opportunity. “The Animal” retired for a brief time, but has come back with a vengeance with five straight victories for Maverick MMA, including four wins in 2017.
Cafaro, after battling through a stretch of injuries, has himself returned to win four straight and move to 6-2, earning a shot at Heckman’s Maverick MMA featherweight championship. “Korean Thunder” has worked on every aspect of the game imaginable and is really a true student of the game. His hard work, and intelligence has led him to training with and helping prepare some of the best fighters in the world. Frankie Edgar, Marlon Moraes, Paul Felder, and others, have sought out Cafaro for fight preparations as well as proper weight cutting. He has gotten to travel all over the United States and has soaked up every bit of knowledge he possibly could to help him get to this point. Where that is nobody knows.
Cafaro, like any other MMA fighter, has aspirations of reaching the UFC and staying there as long as possible. I visited with him at one of his training facilities, TKO Fitness in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and got to catch up with my long time friend. Please check out our video and hear what Ryan had to say about his road to this title fight coming up on May 12, what made him become a student of the game, and a demonstration of the Ninja choke, which was the submission he used in his last fight to tap out Jarred Mercado.
MyMMANews will be cageside in Allentown, Pennsylvania for live results, a full recap, and amazing photos.