On Saturday, June 22, the Octagon makes its first stop in South Carolina, and with “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, headlining in a five-round bout against fellow featherweight contender Renato Moicano, fans in Greenville will be in for a treat. Since his days in the WEC, Jung has delivered epic battles and fantastic finishes, but if you need a little primer on The Zombie, read on for his greatest hits.
Leonard Garcia I
Time dulls some memories, but not this one. If you haven’t seen the first fight between Jung and Leonard Garcia in the WEC, click that link above right now and then come back. I’ll be waiting for you. This may have been one of the greatest introductions to a fighter we’ve ever seen, and while Jung lost a split decision to Garcia that night in Sacramento, this fight was so good that the result really didn’t matter. Seriously. And when it was over, a legend from South Korea was born.
“When I was fighting Garcia, I couldn’t hear anything because of the roar of the crowd,” Jung recalled. “I just heard the roaring sound. That’s when I thought, it’s very cool that I’m here. And even though I lost, I think the Korean Zombie was born. I exist because of that fight.”
Leonard Garcia II
Before Jung’s rematch with Garcia, this time in the UFC, you might have assumed that the fight game of “The Korean Zombie” started and finished with his ability to brawl. Maybe Garcia, who defeated Jung in their classic 2010 bout, figured the same thing. He might have even thought that he was safe as the seconds wound down in round two in Louisville. But that’s when Jung struck with Eddie Bravo’s “Twister,” a painful maneuver that had never finished a fight in the UFC – well, up until Garcia’s tap out at 4:59 of the second round. It was a beautifully executed move, and a historic one.
In just four fights under the Zuffa (UFC / WEC) umbrella, Jung managed to cement a reputation as a must see every time his name was called to fight. He engaged in what Joe Rogan called “The Fight of the Decade” against Leonard Garcia, finished Garcia in their rematch with a Twister, the first time that move has ever ended a UFC bout, and in December 2011, he needed just seven seconds to knock out hometown hero Mark Hominick at UFC 140, dodging a left hook and countering with a solid right hand down the middle that dropped “The Machine” and set up the final barrage of shots. Yeah, the “Korean Zombie” had arrived.
When the UFC instituted non-title five round main events in 2011, there was concern that perhaps some of the matchups wouldn’t live up to that lofty billing. The featherweight war between Jung and Dustin Poirier wasn’t one of those matchups, especially with both 145-pound contenders being aggressive finishers with high-level fight games. But could their bout live up to expectations? It sure did, and then some, with “The Korean Zombie” continuing to show off his fighting evolution with a varied attack that had him in control early on. But by the third round, fatigue began to set in, and Poirier began to turn up the heat. By the time the fourth round began, the momentum had shifted, and it was “The Diamond” who looked on the verge of a stoppage win. But the Zombie lived up to his moniker, stunning Poirier with strikes before ending the bout with a D’arce choke at 1:07 of the fourth stanza. These were two featherweights delivering heavyweight action.
On paper, this featherweight showdown between Yair Rodriguez and Chan Sung Jung had all the elements to produce fireworks, and neither fighter disappointed in a back-and-forth battle that literally came down to the final second of the fight, when a highlight reel knockout earned Rodriguez the victory at 4:59 of round five.