When news broke that Max Holloway was out of his planned upcoming title rematch against champion Alexander Volkanovski, there were no shortage of fighters interested in stepping up for a shot at UFC gold. Henry Cejudo offered to make a comeback, Giga Chikadze looked to make his case, and even Charles Oliveira threw his hat in the ring for a possible super-fight opportunity.
Still, with Cejudo retired, Chikadze booked, and Oliveira not having made featherweight in a half decade, there’s a lot to be said for being in just the right place at just the right time.
That’s where Chan Sung Jung appears to find himself, both as a top ranked fighter in the featherweight division, a fighter who hasn’t already fought (and lost to) the champ, and a fighter currently coming off a victory. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported the news on Twitter, that the ‘Korean Zombie’ is currently the front-runner to face the City Kickboxing star, possibly at UFC 273 in April.
Current status:— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 10, 2022
Alex Volkanovski x Chan Sung Jung
Aljamain Sterling x Petr Yan
… will now likely co-headline the April PPV, per sources. That’s the direction things are moving in at the moment.
TBD what will headline 3/05. Could be a goodie.
TKZ would enter this bout off a victory over Dan Ige back in June of last year. That fight provided a much needed rebound from a hard loss to top contender Brian Ortega in October of 2020. Still just 34-years-old, Jung previously fought for UFC gold all the way back in 2013, challenging longtime featherweight king Jose Aldo for the belt. The Fight Ready talent lost that bout via TKO in the 4th round, but is 4-2 in the years since—following a prolonged hiatus from MMA due to injury and compulsory military service.
For Volkanovski, Jung would represent the 3rd defense of his UFC title, having snatched it with a decision win over Max Holloway back in 2019. Currently sitting at 23 wins to just a single loss, the ‘Great’ has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon. He most recently bested Brian Ortega at UFC 266 back in September.
If things go according to plan, it appears the UFC would also be moving the bantamweight title rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan from its spot atop UFC 272, leaving that PPV card without a title fight for the moment. No word yet on who the promotion might be looking to book to replace the loss of both bouts for the March 5th card in Las Vegas, NV.
UFC 273 is expected to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Alongside the two title fights, a bout between women’s bantamweight top contenders Irene Aldana and Aspen Ladd is also set for the event.