It has been over three years since Chan Sung Jung graced the octagon with his presence due to mandatory military service for his country (South Korea). His last outing was an unsuccessful title bid against featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 163 August 3rd, 2013.
Before that, The Korean Zombie had a trio of wins against Leonard Garcia via twister, the first in UFC, Mark Hominick via KO, and Dustin Poirier via D’Arce choke, providing him with a submission of the night, knockout of the night and finally a submission and fight of the night bonus in each of those fights respectively.
Also in his absence, we’ve seen the rise of Conor McGregor in the featherweight division, Max Holloway powering through the rankings, and the whole landscape of the featherweight division changing. Now, just coming back after a 3+ year layoff, Chan Sung Jung has is right back in the featherweight scene with his first round KO victory over number 9 ranked featherweight Dennis Bermudez.
“I don’t know if anybody in the history of the fight game has come back after a three-plus year layoff and looked as good as he did tonight”
Dana White was full of praise for Chan Sung Jung in the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. It was as if the Korean Zombie had never left, he is immediately back in the top-10 of the featherweight division.
White described the performance as “very impressive” and noting that “he pumped some excitement into UFC Korea. Ari (Emanuel) and I have been talking about going to Korea, so I think tonight he sealed it.” He continued to heap praise on Jung saying, “Let me tell you what, Dennis Bermudez is as nasty a fighter as you will ever face, and he came in tonight with all the advantages. And the Zombie, he performed again,” White said. “This guy is a phenomenal athlete. He’s a great fighter. And man, is he a finisher.”
The UFC did hold a show in South Korea during Chan Sung Jung’s mandatory military service, UFC Fight Night 79 in 2015. Jung told MMA Fighting last week that watching the UFC happen in Korea, while his fellow Koreans competed in the big show in his home country, was “really, really tough.”
Now, though, with a 3 minute KO under his belt and return, he may have sealed a return to South Korea and his place in the top-10 of the featherweight division.