The Korean Zombie: Marching towards UFC Gold

Korean Zombie
BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 21: Chan Sung Jung of South Korea prepares to fight Frankie Edgar in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Sajik Arena 3 on December 21, 2019 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC Busan

In the recently concluded fight card in South Korea, the main event was scheduled to be a five-round fight between UFC veteran Frankie Edgar and Chang Sung Jung (aka The Korean Zombie). Jung knocked out Edgar in a largely one-sided affair. He dropped him to the ground and followed up with ferocious ground and pound.

As well as landing heavy strikes, he also almost submitted him. Jung allowed Edgar back to his feet only to strike him down again. The referee soon signalled the end of the fight. All of this happened within just 198 seconds. 

It would be a mistake to assume that the two fighters were mismatched. This was not the case. Many long-time fans would remember a Frankie Edgar in his prime. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar is a former UFC champion. He has beaten several of the best such as Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson and Chad Mendes.

He holds three victories over “the prodigy” BJ Penn, the only person to do so. While Edgar may be past his prime, he remains a legend of the sport. He went a full five rounds against Max Holloway just a few months ago, widely considered the greatest featherweight of all time. This was the fighter that Chan Sung Jung dominated and dispatched in front of a noisy, expressive and highly supportive home town crowd.

Zombie’s UFC history

When Zombie made his debut back in 2011, it was against Leonard Garcia. Zombie secured the victory via twister, becoming the first person to do so.  Zombie would remark later that he learnt the submission by watching Eddie Bravo on YouTube. The sport of MMA could scarcely ask for a better example of the effects of globalisation making themselves evident as a part of the sport.  

Shortly after that, the Korean Zombie would secure a victory against one of the biggest names in today’s lightweight division in the UFC, Dustin Poirier. This would also come via submission. This time Jung would use the Darce choke. Once again, it was a much-lauded performance. Not only did Zombie earn a fight of the night bonus, but would also earn the submission of the year award at various ceremonies.   

The win over Poirier would lead to a title shot against featherweight legend Jose Aldo. Aldo’s initially scheduled opponent was Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Pettis pulled out of the title contest due to an injury, opening up an opportunity for Jung. Unsuccessful in his attempt, Zombie would then take a hiatus due to obligatory military service. 

Return

In November last year, Zombie fought a five-round war against the flashy and unorthodox Yair Rodriguez. It was a classic, a fight that Zombie was literally one second away from winning before he got caught with the unlikeliest of blows. Rodriguez landed an upward elbow in the very last second. The knockout set the record for the latest knockout in a UFC fight. It stands as one of the marquee highlight-reel knockouts in UFCs history. Rodriguez walked away with the victory, but the respect for the Korean Zombie that the MMA community had was undiminished.

Jung for his part would follow up on social media, accepting full responsibility for the outcome. The last-second knockout was no excuse for him. 

He would soon return to the winning column again. This was courtesy of an early finish against Renato Moicano, another impressive prospect in the talent-rich featherweight division. Jung earned yet another performance of the night bonus award. This was his second of three (with the latest being the one against Edgar in Busan).

Zombie capitalised on his opportunity with the microphone after beating Edgar. He called out the freshly crowned UFC featherweight champion, Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski. The crowd in South Korea cheered him on. If the UFC grant him his wish, this will be the second title shot at 145 lbs that Jung receives.  Several fans, in South Korea and all over the world will cheer if he does. 

 

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