When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White says you're a "world beater" and a "bad ass," you know you've been killing it inside the Octagon.
When he says it after just two fights?
Then you're Hyun Gyu Lim, the towering welterweight warrior who has been tapped to replace Jake Ellenberger in a main event melee against former Strikeforce 170-pound champion Tarec Saffiedine, in "Fight Pass" fisticuffs scheduled for Sat. morning (Jan. 4, 2014) at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
What a difference a couple of fights can make.
Especially considering that Lim (12-3) got off to a pretty rocky start. His signing went unnoticed by most major MMA media outlets and when he was originally paired off against Marcelo Guimaraes at the promotion's debut in Macao, China, "Magrao" was bounced from the card due to injury and replaced by David Mitchell.
Then Lim did some bouncing himself.
"The Ace" was in the place -- but unable to compete after onsite doctors ruled him medically unfit to compete. The official cause was "complications" from his weight cut, but details were sketchy, at best. He was pegged as the "Fighter to Watch" at UFC on FUEL TV 6, but certainly not for that reason.
Though it gave him a second chance to do the dance with Guimaraes.
After both fighters were patched up and put back into the game, UFC matchmakers squared them off at the UFC on FUEL TV 8 event, which took place on March 3, 2013 at the famed Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, once the home of PRIDE FC.
Lim did not disappoint.
The former PXC welterweight champion allowed his opponent to relentlessly shoot -- successfully at times -- until his timing was exposed. Then, after the midway point in the second stanza, "Magrao" went to the well once too often, eating a stiff knee from "The Ace," which buried him in place.
A pair of errant hands followed him to the ground, but at that point, it was academic.
His smashing debut allowed him to be matched up against budding welterweight up-and-comer Pascal Krauss at the UFC 164 pay-per-view (PPV) event the following August. "Panzer" was fresh off a win over Mike Stumpf on FOX and was pegged as the future of the division.
Lim made him the past.
After securing his second consecutive win by way of knockout, the South Korean powerhouse drew accolades from White and effectively put himself in a position for bigger and better things. That opportunity came knocking shortly after the UFC Fight Night 34 main event was booked, thanks to an untimely injury to "The Juggernaut."
Everything happens for a reason.
Now, Lim can effectively insert himself "in the mix" with just three fights under his belt thanks to his high-profile pairing in Singapore (as well as a "Fighter of the Year" award). But don't expect "The Sponge" to go away without trying to squeeze out a win himself.
Don't sleep on this one (literally).