TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 10: "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung reacts after knocking out Mark Hominick during the UFC 140 event at Air Canada Centre on December 10, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Seven seconds. That's what it took for Chan Sung Jung to knock out Mark Hominick at UFC 140. Seven seconds. That number officially ties The Korean Zombie for fastest KO in UFC history (alongside Todd Duffee). Any fast victory like that is extremely impressive, but the fact that it came against Mark Hominick? That is something special indeed. With that win, Chan Sung Jung suddenly vaults into the upper levels of the Featherweight ranks. But after this win, Jung shouldn't just be near the top.
Chan Sung Jung should be next in line for a shot at the Featherweight title.
That's quite a jump, I know. After all, Jung is only on a 2 fight win streak, and prior to those 2 wins, he had been rather emphatically knocked out himself by George Roop, and lost a controversial decision to Leonard Garcia. There are plenty of fighters above him in the ranks - men like Hatsu Hioki, Roop, Dustin Poirier, and Erik Koch. From a purely sports/rankings perspectives, those men should get the shot, it's true. But that doesn't mean it's the right choice for the division.
Just one year into their time in the UFC, the Featherweights are still struggling for relevance. Aldo looks to be gaining popularity, but it's a slow process, and his lack of big highlight reel wins inside the Octagon is not helping. Next up for the champion is Chad Mendes, in a fight that will perhaps interest the live crowd in Brazil and the hardcore MMA fanbase, but I don't see Aldo vs. Mendes drawing in many casual fans. Same goes for Aldo versus any one of those contenders named above. And that's assuming Aldo wins. A Mendes vs. Poirier title fight would be destined for Fuel or FX.
But Jung is different. Thanks largely to his epic brawl with Garcia, he has a strong appeal for casual fans. Like Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar years ago, Jung will forever get respect for his part in that fight. Add in the nickname, the persona, and the t-shirts, and you have a fighter that casual fans recognize and respond to.
Now, casual fan recognition is not the only factor, obviously. If it was, we'd be looking ahead to UFC 147: Junior dos Santos vs. Kimbo Slice. You need the credentials to back that recognition. At UFC 140, Jung established those credentials.
Mark Hominick is a near 10 year veteran of the sport. He is one of the best strikers in the division. He went 25 minutes with Jose Aldo. He's never been stopped by strikes. And in seven seconds, Jung took him out. Those are serious credentials, and when you pair them with his popularity, you have a strong title contender.
Right now, the division needs a boost. As the division works to establish itself, it needs main event names fans can get behind - as we saw with Kenny Florian's fast-track to a title shot. The WEC always understood this, vaulting men up to title shots quickly if they had momentum. Chan Sung Jung has that momentum, and he will provide that name. He's exactly what the division needs. Can he defeat Jose Aldo? Probably not, but that's not really the point. The point is, he can make you care to find out the answer.
Jose Aldo vs. The Korean Zombie for the UFC Featherweight title. Make it happen Joe Silva.