Dan Ige kept his head held high following a unanimous decision loss to Chan Sung Jung in the UFC on ESPN 25 main event on Saturday.
The Xtreme Couture product had his moments standing against “The Korean Zombie” in their featherweight clash at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, but the South Korean standout ultimately relied on his grappling to frustrate Ige and get the nod from the cageside judges.
In a post-fight interview in the Octagon, Ige paid tribute to his opponent while expressing resolve to climb to the top of the 145-pound division.
“I went out there I fought my best. I came in at my absolute best. I have no excuses,” Ige said. “The ‘Zombie’ is an absolute legend. I’ve been watching this guy since I graduated from high school. I was watching him from the WEC days to here now in the UFC, and he’s still one of the best in the world – and that’s all I want.
“I want to test myself against the absolute best in the world. I truly believe I can still be a champion. I just have little small things to work on. I’ll be back better and stronger.”
A competitor on Season 1 of Dana White’s Contender Series, Ige has been victorious in seven of his 10 promotional appearances. His record includes split-decision triumphs over Edson Barboza and Mirsad Bektic as well as a 22-second KO of Gavin Tucker, but he has recently fallen short in main event matchups against Jung and Calvin Kattar.
Ige later released a statement on Instagram, where he praised Jung for his strategy while sharing his disappointment following his latest setback.
“He fought a very smart fight; congrats to him and his team. I’ve been here before but this one definitely stung a bit more knowing I had everything to gain from this fight and truly believed 100 percent in my heart and that I would come out victorious,” Ige wrote. “I was mentally, physically, and spiritually sharp and prepared. Sometimes what you plan on doesn’t align with God’s timing, but in the end, God loves and cares for me and so does my family and small circle whom I love dearly.
“I’m obviously heartbroken as I sit here in the valley of defeat, but I’m already plotting a way to climb the mountain again with goals to reach the top of the throne,” he continued. “I love this sport and I’ve dedicated my entire life to it and I’ll find a way to be better. Thank you everyone who’s reached out and checked on me I’m doing okay. Now time to enjoy my first Father’s Day with my baby boy and the rest of the family.”
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