Following his emphatic victory over Renato Moicano at UFC Greenville, Chan Sung Jung, also known as “The Korean Zombie”, became a popular man on social media.
Aljamain Sterling, Corey Anderson, and Brad Tavares were just a few of the UFC fighters congratulating Jung for his stunning one-minute finish of Moicano. Another man who congratulated Jung was perennial divisional stalwart Jeremy Stephens, who tweeted that he wanted to fight the South Korean contender next.
In an interview with Lee Gyo-Dok of SpoTV translated by The Body Lock, Jung stated that he has no desire to fight Stephens, and instead only wants to fight those who will move him closer to a shot at current featherweight champion Max Holloway’s title. Given that Stephens is currently ranked #7, he fails to meet Jung’s criteria for future opponents.
“I do not really care [about Stephens’ call-out]. I want an opponent that will get me closer to the title. Sean Shelby agrees with me. I just took out Moicano, who is ranked #5, in that fashion so there is no reason for me to go backwards in the rankings if I want the title,” said Jung.
One man who fits that criterium is Jung’s former foe, once-UFC champion Jose Aldo, who, following his loss against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237, currently sits at #3 in the 145-pound division.
“The Korean Zombie” and Aldo had previously fought at UFC 163 in Brazil, where then-champion Aldo was victorious. Jung left the UFC after the bout the complete two years of mandatory military service in his native South Korea, and now feels that the time is right for a rematch; he’s even happy for the bout to take place in Brazil, and given that Aldo seems unlikely to fight outside his native country again, it seems likely Brazil would be the bout’s potential setting.
“I also talked to Shelby about [the rematch]. Aldo is not fighting outside of Brazil and only wants to fight three-rounders so I do not know, but I have no problem going to Brazil and rematch Aldo there.”
Practice makes perfect for Chan Sung Jung
Jung entered his bout with Moicano as a slight underdog, with many expecting the rangy Brazilian to pick apart the Korean and outclass him from distance, as he has in previous bouts against Calvin Kattar and Jeremy Stephens.
Indeed, throughout his camp, Jung prepared for a distance striker. So when the first round began and Moicano met the Korean head-on, Jung was particularly surprised.
“I did not think Moicano was going to fight me from close distance. I thought he would wait until the third round with that strategy because that is what he has done in previous fights. Fighting from distance with a lot of kicks is what I expected. I was planning on fighting for five rounds.”
“The Korean Zombie” opened up aggressively, attacking Moicano’s lead leg and feinting with the jab constantly. While Jung had prepared to be aggressive, he was not expecting to start that way. Instead, he thought Moicano would tire later on, and only then would he become more susceptible to the type of pressure and aggression Jung has become known for.
“Originally, I was prepared to use that strategy when Moicano got tired, but he did not retreat from the start. He did not run away, so I went in with aggression.”
Just thirty seconds into the bout, Jung landed a perfect overhand right, left hook combination that sent Moicano to the canvas. While the Brazilian managed to survive the initial onslaught, Jung took his back, flattened Moicano out, and delivered ground-and-pound until the referee was forced to step in.
The Korean explained that it was a combination he had practiced many times, and his preparation gave him immense confidence, allowing him to execute perfectly when it mattered most.
“I was so confident in my skills. I won with a combination that I practiced so much… there is footage of it in my training. I filmed all my sparring sessions. It will be edited and uploaded soon,” promised Jung.
Headlining at home and title aspirations
When fighters sign with the UFC, most dream of two things – winning a title, and headlining an event in their home country, wherever that may be.
While the UFC has only ventured to South Korea once, Chan Sung Jung still spoke to Dana White after his UFC Greenville victory about the idea of a return to the Asian country. Even though “The Korean Zombie” was unable to guarantee whether or not he would be headlining the event, Jung did confirm that the promotion would absolutely be returning in the near future, continuing its recent expansion into Asia.
“I could not talk with [Dana White] for too long because of a poor connection. He said the UFC is going back to Korea. 100% guaranteed… I cannot give a definitive answer at this moment [if I’ll be headlining or not],” revealed Jung.
Jung conceded that he probably would not be fighting for a title next, given the ever-increasing number of contenders at 145-pounds, as well as Alexander Volkanovski’s watertight case for the next shot. However, he did suggest that he is close; another emphatic win and Max Holloway’s belt may be within his grasp.
“[My next fight] may be a title fight, I cannot say for sure. There is a possibility of fighting one more time before getting a title shot.”
Coaching changes for “The Korean Zombie”
After his devastating, last-second loss to Yair Rodriguez at UFC Denver, Jung determined that changes in his preparation were necessary.
During his camp for UFC Greenville, he introduced striking coach Eddie Cha into his camp, and he gives Cha, who primarily works at the MMA Lab, a significant amount of credit for his performance. In addition, Jung trained in the U.S. for the last month of his camp, another change he feels was hugely beneficial.
“There is no doubt the effects were very positive. I worked a lot with Eddie Cha, and he was very helpful. I need to have Eddie with me for every fight. If I do fight in Korea, I will be inviting him over to help me prepare for my opponent. The way he thinks is different from other coaches. No disrespect to coaches in Korea.”
Whatever is next for “The Korean Zombie”, it’s safe to say that it will be a barnburner of a fight.