Chan Sung Jung, aka "The Korean Zombie," is challenging UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo for the title tonight at UFC 163 in Brazil. Bloody Elbow's Dallas Winston was able to catch up with him and ask a few questions before the biggest fight of Jung's life.
Dallas Winston: Describe your state of mind before the biggest fight and scariest opponent of your life?
Chan Sung Jung: I'm focused on winning the fight. Jose Aldo is a great fighter, so I'll have to be at my best to beat him, but I'm feeling great physically and mentally.
DW: How are you being received by fans in Brazil, and how do you feel about fighting on Aldo's home turf?
CSJ: The fans here have been nothing but supportive! I'm sure there will be plenty of "boos" on Saturday, but I've always thrived in the role of underdog. I'm just excited about fighting for the title.
DW: How do you balance strategy with being an instinctual fighter? In plain terms: will you execute a certain gameplan or just freak out on him Zombie-style?
CSJ: I don't make detailed strategies ... more like general gameplans. We've been practicing for particular skills that Jose Aldo exhibits. I don't plan to freak out on him though. (laughs)
DW: Our first interview was before your WEC debut and now you're headlining a UFC event as one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. What has that journey been like for you? How has it changed you as a person, and as a fighter?
CSJ: Yes, it's been a interesting trip. I think I have changed a lot as a fighter, and a bit as a person too. I went from being more of a brawler to concentrating more on developing my skills as an all-around fighter. As a person I've learned a lot and grown, too.
DW: It has to be impossible NOT to think about Dana wrapping that belt around your waist ... how are you handling that when mentally preparing for Aldo?
CSJ: Of course, I want to win and I'll do whatever it takes for that to happen. But, when it comes to an opponent like Aldo, it's easy not to get ahead of myself. Staying focused is easy, because so few people are expecting me to win. Everyone, including myself, knows how good Jose is, so I have to keep myself 100-percent physically and mentally in tune.
DW: I have to ask this: exactly how hard do you want to punch Jose Aldo in the face?
CSJ: I'd like to punch him hard enough to free him of his consciousness. I've been working on tightening up my striking with my new striking coach -- formerly "Sexyama's" [Yoshihiro Akiyama's] striking coach. Hopefully, we'll see a great striking battle.
DW: On a serious note, explain how it feels to have truly reached the pinnacle of MMA?
CSJ: It's been my goal and dream for several years now, so it means the world to me. I know that it would push MMA in Korea to the next level if I win, so a victory would be that much more important.
DW: The floor is yours for any final comments.
CSJ: I want to thank all the fans as usual for their support and love. In particular, I'd like to thank the Korean community in Sao Paulo for all the help they provided. I want to thank Red Nose, Venum, KM Player and Vatos for sponsoring me for this fight. Also, special thanks to Daniel Lee for helping so much in Sao Paulo. Also, thanks to Dare restaurant in Sao Paulo for all the great food.
Last, but not least, thanks to you for all the great interviews!