Chan Sung Jung engaged incomparable UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a title fight at UFC 163 and, quite obviously to all, including Aldo, badly dislocated his shoulder in the fourth round. Now, almost two months after UFC 163, "The Korean Zombie" reveals his analysis of the Aldo fight, his strategy going in, what threw him off, the extent of his injury and his expected recovery time in a Bloody Elbow exclusive.
Dallas Winston: Please give me your breakdown of the Aldo fight.
Korean Zombie: The first two rounds went as expected except for the lack of low kicks from Aldo. We planned to just let him use his energy up early in the fight. I lost the first two rounds. In the third round, I could feel Aldo getting tired. He was breathing hard, so that's when I started to put more pressure on him. In the fourth round, things were going my way until the injury.
DW: Describe your emotions after the fight?
KZ: Right after the fight, all I felt was pain. After that, it was just sort of numbness. After preparing for so long and anticipating the fight for so many years ... to lose like that left me feeling empty.
DW: Some fans felt that you fought out of character and stood in the pocket with Aldo, whereas your past fights were a bit more wild and reckless -- was this part of your strategy?
KZ: You can't fight wild against a guy like Aldo -- at least not right off the bat. It was part of our gameplan. If that didn't work out, I was planning to go into Zombie-mode, but things were going as we planned early in the fight. Part of my hesitation was that I kept expecting the low kicks, but they never came. I didn't realize that he had injured his foot in the first round.
DW: Can you go into more detail on your strategy? In retrospect, what worked and what didn't?
KZ: Our strategy was just to get through the first round; to let him use up energy early in the fight and turn it on later as he got tired. A big part of what we prepared was neutralizing the low kicks. We spent a lot of time preparing for those low kicks, but since they never came, I kept waiting, and the fight got kind of boring because of that.
DW: Now that you've been in there with the world's best featherweight, what is it like to fight Jose Aldo?
KZ: I felt that he's definitely human. He's got such an aura of invincibility built up around him, but after fighting him, I know that he's human and can get tired. I would really like the opportunity to fight him again.
DW: Was anything different than you expected? Was he quicker, stronger, did he hit harder, etc.?
KZ: Like I mentioned, the lack of low kicks. A lot of people are saying that it was advantage for me that he wasn't able to low kick much, but I actually think it was a disadvantage, because it really stunted my gameplan and the flow of the fight for me.
DW: Walk us through your shoulder injury.
KZ: I swung and the shoulder came out. It was the first time I've ever dislocated my shoulder, but I knew what happened. I thought, "So ... this is what it feels like to dislocate your shoulder." I tried to push the shoulder up, but I should have been trying to push it backwards. I also tried to hide it, but Aldo saw it and took advantage. Once the fight was called it hurt really badly, but it was okay once the doctors put it back in place.
DW: What is the extent of the injury, and how long do you expect to be out? Are you worried it might be recurring?
KZ: I had surgery on my shoulder, otherwise it would have been recurring. Also, I had surgery for a fractured orbital bone. I'll probably be back in the gym in ten months. With the surgery and the rehab, it shouldn't be a problem.
DW: You've never suffered a loss like this before -- how do you intend to grow and learn from it?
KZ: Honestly, I don't know if I learned much from it. If I had lost because of skill or technique, then I could take something away from it, but losing like that doesn't leave me with much. I just want to come back as quickly as possible.
DW: You recently left Korean Top Team. Did that affect you or your preparation?
KZ: Not in a negative way. I was really happy with my camp and preparations. I was very satisfied with my strategy as well.
BE Staff: Who do you think is the next Korean fighter who will be making waves soon?
KZ: Hyun Gyu Lim and Kyung Ho Kang are two guys who I think have a lot of upside. Neither of them has shown their full potential yet. Also Doo Ho Choi, but I'm not sure what his contract situation is right now. I know the UFC is interested.
BE Staff: What reaction did you get for your protest about Georges St. Pierre's "rising sun" walk out shirt, and has there been any more fallout from it?
KZ: I got a lot of support from people all over the world. I think a lot of people don't understand why it's a big deal, but here in many Asian countries it's a symbol of evil. I wrote a long letter to Lorenzo, Dana, Joe Silva and Sean Shelby explaining the history of the issue and why it's still important. Unfortunately, the UFC is still selling the design on some of the clothing. For Koreans, and many Asians, it's like a slap in the face.
BE Staff: Do you have an idea of how to keep your shoulders healthier in the future? Is there maybe a genetic problem or pure bad luck?
KZ: Rehab and prehab in the future. I think that with my long arms and my punching style it may be hard on my shoulders. That's something we'll be looking at once I get healthy again.
BE Staff: What will get you through rehab without getting up to Anthony Johnson weight? Wii fit? Game show appearances?
KZ: I'll try to keep running and watch my diet. I'm not too worried, though.
BE Staff: Shoulder injuries are among the most common ills in boxing, but they are usually the result of atypical technique. Given your recent injury, are you considering making yet another change to your style, perhaps training more boxing?
KZ: I'm not sure at this point. Again, it's something we'll be watching once I start training again. However, I've fought this way for 10 years without any problems, so the recent injuries might just be flukes.