No one in mixed martial arts fits the action hero description any better than longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung.
“The Korean Zombie” will bring his arsenal of technical violence to the cage for an intriguing confrontation with Dan Ige in the UFC on ESPN 25 main event this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Jung, 34, owns a 6-3 record inside the Octagon, his successful run having been interrupted more than once by injuries and mandatory military service in his native South Korea. He has delivered 14 of his 16 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, 10 of them inside one round.
Ahead of Jung’s forthcoming battle with Ige, a look at some of the rivalries that have provided shape and texture to his outstanding career:
Jung avenged his controversial World Extreme Cagefighting defeat to “Bad Boy” when he submitted him with a twister in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 24 featherweight showcase on March 26, 2011 at Key Arena in Seattle. His body painfully contorted, Garcia conceded defeat 4:59 into Round 2. Jung dominated their rematch as a short-notice replacement for the injured Nam Phan. The Korean Top Team representative, just 24 years of age at the time, took down Garcia with roughly 90 seconds remaining in Round 1, threatened him with an armbar and later moved to full mount. In the middle stanza, Jung again pushed the fight to the mat, where he dropped heavy elbows on the notoriously tough Texan. He transitioned to Garcia’s back with less than half a minute left in the period, set up the twister in an ode to Eddie Bravo and coaxed the tapout.
“The Korean Zombie” rendered Poirier unconscious with a fourth-round brabo choke in the UFC on Fuel TV 3 headliner on May 15, 2012 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. Poirier went limp 67 seconds into Round 4, bringing a dramatic close to a remarkable encounter between two blue-chip talents. Jung was spectacular in victory and had “The Diamond” reeling in the first round, where he struck for a trip takedown from the clinch, moved into side control and opened a cut near the Louisianan’s hairline with a well-placed elbow. The surging Korean nearly finished it in Round 2, as he stunned Poirier with a flying knee, followed it with a series of short uppercuts and lured him into a wild scramble that resulted in several submission attempts, including a pair of triangle chokes. Poirier did his best work in the third, sticking his fatigued counterpart with one straight left hand after another. However, success proved fleeting. In the fourth round, Jung cracked him with a searing right uppercut and backed it up with another flying knee. Out of desperation, Poirier dove for a takedown, leaving his neck exposed in the process. Jung sprawled, deftly locked in the choke and finished it. The crowd erupted with its approval.
A stomach-churning shoulder injury brought a premature end to Jung’s title bid at 145 pounds, as Aldo buried the stricken challenger with punches, secured the stoppage and retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight crown in the UFC 163 headliner on Aug. 3, 2013 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Referee Herb Dean called a halt to the bout 2:00 into Round 4, with Jung clearly in distress and unable to continue. Aldo was effective in spurts, but he was not the dominant force to which the MMA world has grown accustomed. He kept what is arguably his most effective weapon—the leg kick—in its holster, throwing only one of them in the match. Instead, Aldo turned to his wrestling chops, delivering takedowns in each of the first three rounds. The Brazilian was sharpest in Round 2, where he scored with an exquisite multi-punch combination to the body and head and mixed in a devastating jab to go along with the aforementioned takedown. During an exchange early in the fourth, Jung appeared to separate his right shoulder while throwing a punch. The South Korean retreated in visible pain, with Aldo in hot pursuit. The champion drove him to the ground with punches and kicks, polishing off another victory at the base of the fence.
The former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion staked his claim as the No. 1 contender at 145 pounds with a comprehensive performance against Jung, as he cruised to a unanimous decision in the UFC Fight Night 180 main event on Oct. 17, 2020 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All three judges scored it 50-45 for Ortega, who bounced back from his December 2018 technical knockout loss to Max Holloway in resounding fashion. Jung was ill-prepared for all the weaponry “T-City” brought to the table. Ortega drew out his opponent’s defenses with feints, cracked his legs with kicks, targeted the head with lunging left hands and threatened takedowns, either through full-on shots or simply by tapping the South Korean action hero’s lead leg. He also landed the single-most impactful strike of the fight when he floored Jung with a perfectly timed spinning back elbow in the second round. Ortega steered clear of danger with superior footwork and lateral movement, his jab becoming more and more of a weapon as the bout drifted into its latter stages.
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