Affectionately known as "The Korean Zombie" for his inhuman ability to trudge through a hail of punches, we've seen Jung evolve leaps and bounds with each of his dramatic stateside performances. First, the combat sports world was infected with Zombie Mania after his consensus "Fight of the Decade" against Leonard Garcia in his WEC debut. Then, he was criticized for the very trait that defined him when George Roop became the first fighter to ever -- in competition, training, or life in general -- part Jung from consciousness.
Likable and exciting or not -- Jung was 0-2 in the states at this point and in desperate need of a win. Following the WEC caravan over to the Octagon, he rematched Leonard Garcia and not only exacted vengeance by tapping the Team Jackson brawler, but finagled the UFC's first submission by Twister. Jung learned the technique just like every other high-level fighter picks up submission knowledge: he watched a Youtube video. Finally, everyone admitted their respect for Jung and felt bad for being so logical before confidently predicting that kickboxing technician Mark Hominick would steamroll him. Just 6-seconds into their UFC 140 match, Hominick was crumpled on the canvas.
Myself and a few of the Bloody Elbow staff bounced some questions off "The Korean Zombie" leading into his showdown with Dustin Poirier. It went something like this ...
Dallas Winston: What can you share as far an update on the Tri-Coasta debacle?
Chan Sung Jung: We got a recommendation from the UFC and have hired the same lawyer that Junior dos Santos uses. Hopefully things will be resolved soon. Unfortunately, I can't really go into detail beyond that. I will say that if you want to buy a Korean Zombie shirt, please get it from Traumma Combat!
Dallas Winston: Tell us about TKZ's new sponsor, Traumma Combat, and how that deal came about?
Chan Sung Jung: We got connected by Oren Hodak at KO Reps. We really wanted to get a new Korean Zombie shirt out there for the people who were wanting to buy something but not support Tri-Coasta and Traumma Combat reached out to us. They've been great to work with and have gone out of their way to be accommodating to me.
Continued in the full entry.
Josh Nason: After that first fight with Garcia, it was Zombie Mania. Dana was wearing his shirt and people knew him more than ever before. Was that overwhelming? Too much attention too soon?
Chan Sung Jung: It was really unexpected. I don't know if it was too much too soon, but it did take me by surprise. I appreciate all the support and interest that I've gotten from the fans worldwide!
Ben Thapa: Do you have any words for Hominick who is currently going through consecutive losses? Did you do anything specific to get through your two losses and come back strong for the Garcia rematch and the Hominick victory?
Chan Sung Jung: Mark is a gentleman. He's a real sportsmen and I'm sure he'll get back on track soon. I'm sure he knows that he just needs to stay confident and not give up. After my loss to George Roop, I was forced to re-evaluate my whole game. Ultimately, it was a good thing for me. It has allowed me to grow a lot as a fighter. I had been relying too much on my chin and my "zombie" fighting style, but that KO loss changed all that. It made me realize that I have to keep developing as a fighter and be more technical, as opposed to a brawler.
Ben Thapa: In terms of Korean judo, do you train with any of the champions or also-rans in preparation for your clinch work?
Chan Sung Jung: Bu Kyung Jung was a member of Korean Top Team and he has been a role model to me and I've learned a lot from him. He won a silver medal in judo at the 2000 Summer Olympics, so obviously his judo is top notch. He definitely helped me improve my clinch work. My clinch work really developed a lot after working with Bu Kyung. We also have a lot of other guys on our team that are experienced Judokas, so that helps too.
Anton Tabuena: Who do you think is the next Korean fighter we can look out for, and expect to be signed by the UFC in the near future?
Chan Sung Jung: There are a lot of talented fighters in Korea right now. If I had to choose one guy, I'd say it's Hyun Gyu Lim. He's another member of Korean Top Team who fights at welterweight. He's really big and long, especially for a WW. He's huge and really skilled all around. He's probably the best all around fighter on our team, myself and Dongi Yang included! His fights are always exciting and he's had 4 straight 1st-round KOs. Hopefully he'll get the call from the UFC soon.
Dallas Winston: How was your training camp for Poirier? Are you 100% healthy and injury-free?
Chan Sung Jung: It's been a good camp, but I've had my share of injuries. It all part of the game. Injuries, and fighting through them, are all part of being a professional fighter. My shoulder and my knee have been giving me problems, but regardless, I'm 100% ready to go.
Dallas Winston: You've typically had an advantage in either striking, grappling or height and length over your WEC and UFC opponents. Poirier excels in the same areas you do. Is this how you see the match up?
Chan Sung Jung: Yeah, we're similar in that regard. I think that's what is going to make this fight exciting for the fans.
Dallas Winston: Did your similar styles make it tougher to game-plan for him? Can you share what you did to prepare for him specifically, and what you think your advantages are against him?
Chan Sung Jung: No, I think it's made it easier, actually. I've worked on my all around game and my stamina, since it's going to be a 5-round fight. While we have similar strong points, I feel that I have the edge over him in all areas.
Dallas Winston: You and Poirier engaged in a little Twitter beef. Would you say that was playful jousting, or is there even a tiny bit of animosity or dislike for one another?
Chan Sung Jung: I don't know how he feels, but I think of us as being co-workers. We're all professionals and we work for the same company. Part of our job is to get fans interested in the fight. That's what the whole thing on Twitter was about. I have absolutely no bad feelings towards Dustin.
Dallas Winston: You're both vying for a shot at Jose Aldo, who's almost built an aura of invincibility. What fighter traits do you feel it will take to unseat Aldo? How do you think that both you and Poirier would fare against him?
Chan Sung Jung: I'm not looking past this fight. My focus is winning this fight, first and foremost. As far as what it will take to beat Aldo, I think it depends on the particular fighter. Aggression and confidence would be a must. Allowing him to dictate the pace and being intimated by him would be a disaster for any fighter.
Dallas Winston: As always -- what should we expect from The Korean Zombie against Poirier? Any more dramatic finishes or clever submissions that you've been working on or have up your sleeve?
Chan Sung Jung: It's going to be a great fight. My prediction? I'll win by KO. There are lots of things that I've been working on, but I don't get stuck on those things because you never know what's going to happen once the fight starts. You have to be ready for anything ... and I am!
Dallas Winston: The floor is all yours for final comments.
Chan Sung Jung: As always, I want to thank the fans and my sponsors. In particular, I'd like to thank Sseda, Monster Zym and Traumma Combat. Also, the Korean American community here in the northern VA/DC area has been really great. They've really given us the red carpet treatment since we arrived.