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Fans who braved the middle-of-the-night start time for UFC Fight Night 165—it kicked off at 2 a.m. ET—on Saturday were rewarded with a spectacular finish in the main event. Chan Sung Jung managed to whip his supporters into a frenzy at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea, as he dispatched former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar with first-round punches.
“The Korean Zombie” was originally scheduled to meet top featherweight contender Brian Ortega but settled for a short-notice showdown with Edgar after “T-City” suffered a partially torn ACL during training. Despite the late change in opponent, Jung managed to score another marquee win and positioned himself as threat to newly minted Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski.
“The biggest difference I had to make [from changing opponents] was the height difference,” Jung said through translator and coach Eddie Cha on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “Ortega is a little bit taller, and Frankie is shorter. We adjusted a lot of the striking aspect of it. I was already wrestling throughout the whole camp for Ortega anyway, so mostly the height, striking and speed.”
The victory pushed Jung’s record to 6-2 in the UFC. After a failed bid to capture the featherweight championship from Jose Aldo in August 2013, he pushed MMA to the backburner to fulfill mandatory military service in his native South Korea. Since returning to the cage, Jung has gone 3-1 and beaten Edgar, Renato Carneiro and Dennis Bermudez, all by first-round knockout. His lone defeat in that stretch resulted from a UFC Fight Night 139 encounter with Yair Rodriguez in November 2018, when he was cut down by a reverse upward elbow strike with one second left in the fight.
Jung, 32, believes he has done enough during his recent run of success to challenge Volkanovski for the 145-pound crown.
“Volkanovski is a super-smart fighter, an intelligent fighter,” Jung said. “Frankie is smart, as well. He might even have a higher fight IQ, so I am pretty confident I can beat Volkanovski.”
Jung was not the only fighter to represent South Korea at the event. Seven of the country’s native sons competed, compiling a 5-2 record. Da Un Jung, Jun Yong Park, Kyung Ho Kang and Seung Woo Choi also emerged victorious. Doo Ho Choi and Dong Hyun Ma were responsible for the only defeats.
“I didn’t get to see all the fights because I was focused on mine, but I saw a bunch of guys,” Jung said. “A couple of guys lost, but I would tell them to not worry too much about the losses and progress forward.”
The defeat was the second straight for Edgar, who lost a unanimous decision to then-champion Max Holloway at UFC 240 in July. After the loss to Holloway, the New Jersey native announced his intention to downshift to the bantamweight division and was booked opposite Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Night 166 in January. Before losing to Jung, Edgar claimed he was still preparing for the Sandhagen fight and believed he was capable of fulfilling both assignments. However, his latest setback put his immediate future in doubt. Edgar responded to the loss on social media but did not address what was to come.
“Well not what I had planned coming out here to South Korea but win like a man and lose like one too,” Edgar posted on Twitter. “Hats off to @KoreanZombie on a great performance. I think it may be time to cut this damn hair. Thank you to all my family, team, and fans for the love and support.”