Ever since his debut in the WEC back in April 2010, Chan Sung Jung – better known as ‘The Korean Zombie’ – has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting and popular fighters in the MMA world.
Renowned for his toughness, aggression and skill, the Korean Zombie has fought just 8 times since joining the UFC in 2011. But over that time, he’s still been involved in some of the most memorable moments in the UFC’s recent history.
The Korean Zombie faces off against Brian Ortega at UFC Fight Island 6 this weekend, and he'll be looking for another highlight reel moment there.
Until then, here are the Korean Zombie’s top 5 moments in the UFC.
#5 The Korean Zombie comes home and knocks out Edgar
The Korean Zombie had already picked up one big win in 2019 by knocking out highly-ranked Brazilian Renato Moicano in June, but the best was yet to come. When the UFC booked Fight Night 165 in Busan, South Korea, it seemed like a no-brainer to have the country’s biggest MMA star headline the show.
The Korean Zombie was initially pegged to fight former UFC title challenger Brian Ortega, but when ‘T-City’ was forced out with a knee injury, an opponent with an even bigger reputation stepped in.
Former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar – who was set to fight the Korean Zombie back in November 2018 before picking up an injury – agreed to take the fight, giving Jung a chance to claim his biggest scalp yet.
Prior to this fight, Edgar had always been renowned for his toughness. ‘The Answer’ had only been stopped once in 31 fights, and prior to taking on the Korean Zombie, he’d gone 5 tough rounds with UFC Featherweight champ Max Holloway.
On this night though, he was simply outclassed. The Korean Zombie wobbled him in almost the first exchange of the fight, and a combination of punches sent him crashing down. Edgar attempted to get up, only for the Korean Zombie to take his back and land more heavy blows.
‘The Answer’ showed his toughness once again by getting to his feet, but it was simply not enough. Another big combination from the Korean Zombie sent him down again, and this time ref Marc Goddard had seen enough.
Edgar had been knocked out once before – by Brian Ortega in 2018 – but nobody had ever destroyed him quite like this. And better still, the Korean Zombie had been able to do it in front of his home fans – who naturally went wild.
#4 Lighting up the UFC’s 25th Anniversary show with Rodriguez
When looking back at the careers of most UFC fighters, their losses are usually their most forgettable bouts. The same can’t be said for the Korean Zombie, who tends to be so entertaining that even his losses are wildly memorable. The most jaw-dropping of them all? Definitely his fight with Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 139.
The show was billed as the UFC’s 25th anniversary and was booked for Denver, Colorado – the same city that hosted the inaugural UFC show back in 1993. Initially pegged to fight Frankie Edgar, the Korean Zombie was instead matched with fellow action hero Yair Rodriguez, and naturally, the pressure was on the duo to produce a classic.
Somehow, the two men went above and beyond in putting on an absolute fight for the ages. From the first second of the opening round, Rodriguez and the Korean Zombie went toe-to-toe, exchanging wild strikes with barely a moment to breathe.
Both men landed some huge strikes on the other, but somehow, neither man would give an inch and neither was knocked down or even stunned. By the fifth round though, it was clear that the Korean Zombie had a slight advantage on the scorecards, as he’d largely been the more aggressive fighter and had landed the better shots.
The fifth went the same way, and as the clock ticked down, both men paused for a moment to raise their hands – largely playing to the crowd, who were in awe of the action they’d witnessed. With seconds to go – although he did not need to – the Korean Zombie lunged in for one final attack, but somehow, Rodriguez ducked, threw his elbow upwards, and caught Jung on the jaw, knocking him unconscious.
The knockout handed Rodriguez his biggest victory to date, and was only the second time the Korean Zombie had been rendered out cold. It was also the latest knockout in UFC history – coming with one second remaining in the final round of a 5-round fight.
But given the quality of the fight, and the sheer heart and determination that both men poured into it, it remains comfortably one of the Korean Zombie’s most memorable moments inside the Octagon. If anything, it made him a bigger star than he was going in – even if he ended up unconscious.
#3 The Korean Zombie taps out Poirier with his own choke
Back in 2012, even after he’d picked up two big wins in the UFC, it was easy to view the Korean Zombie as somewhat of a novelty fighter. Plenty of observers looked at his loses in the WEC to Leonard Garcia and George Roop – despite the controversial nature of the former – and figured that while he was exciting, he simply wasn’t skilled enough to hang with the UFC’s top contenders.
The UFC’s third show on Fuel TV would expose that idea as being very wrong. In the main event, the Korean Zombie was matched against Dustin Poirier. And while ‘The Diamond’ wasn’t quite the monstrous striking machine he is today, he was still on a 5-fight winning streak and was 4-0 in the UFC.
However, despite Poirier being favoured by the oddsmakers, this would be the Korean Zombie’s night to shine. The two men went toe-to-toe on their feet and on the mat too, putting on some tremendous grappling exchanges. But if people had expected Poirier to hold an advantage on the ground, they were sorely mistaken.
Indeed, the Korean Zombie appeared to hold a massive advantage in the grappling department. He somehow managed to reverse a second-round takedown from Poirier directly into full mount, and then came close to submitting him with a couple of armbars, only for ‘The Diamond’ to escape.
However, when the Korean Zombie was able to catch him with a nasty combination in the fourth round and put him on wobbly legs, Poirier made the mistake of making a sloppy takedown attempt. Jung quickly sprawled back – and then locked up a D’Arce choke, a specialism of Poirier’s that he’d used to submit Pablo Garza in the UFC the previous year.
Poirier was forced to tap out, and if there were any doubts about the Korean Zombie’s top-level credentials, they were quickly erased by this win. Not only was the Korean Zombie one of the UFC Featherweight division’s most exciting fighters – he was one of its most skilled, too.
#2 Fastest knockout in UFC Featherweight history
When the UFC booked the Korean Zombie to face off with Mark Hominick at UFC 140, on paper at least, it sounded like we were guaranteed some fireworks. By that stage, the Korean Zombie’s reputation was already near-legendary, while Hominick – a skilled Canadian kickboxer – was coming off one of the best fights of 2011, a failed attempt to dethrone UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo.
When the fact that each man had only been knocked out once in their career previously had been taken into account – the Korean Zombie at the hands of a George Roop head kick, and Hominick in more fluke-like fashion, a slam from the unheralded Tommy Lee nearly a decade prior – it seemed obvious that we’d get a striking war, likely for three rounds.
However, that couldn’t have been much further from what we actually got. Hominick – fighting in his hometown of Toronto, Ontario – came out aggressively with a lunging left hook, but the Korean Zombie was just a little sharper. He slipped the punch and countered with a stiff right hand – sending ‘The Machine’ to the ground.
Hominick attempted to sit up, but before he could even attempt to recover, the Korean Zombie was on him. Jung followed the knockdown with a series of punches that left the Canadian unconscious, and the fight was over in just 7 seconds, leaving the Toronto crowd in awe.
At the time, the knockout was the joint third-fastest in UFC history, and almost a decade later, it still stands as the fastest knockout in UFC Featherweight history, even putting Conor McGregor’s famed stoppage of Jose Aldo into the shade. Incredibly too, it was only the third knockout of the Korean Zombie’s career.
#1 The UFC’s first-ever twister
The first and only WEC pay-per-view – WEC 48 – took place in April 2010. It was supposed to make stars of the likes of Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo, Donald Cerrone and Benson Henderson – but instead, it was two fighters on the preliminary card that stole the show. Their names? Chan Sung Jung – the Korean Zombie – and Leonard Garcia.
The two men put on a simply ridiculous brawl, with both men swinging wild punches from the opening seconds of the fight to the final buzzer. Both men suffered knockdowns and were stunned at points, but when the judges’ scorecards were read, Garcia was handed a split decision win.
Sure, the Korean Zombie had won the hearts of the fans in the process of the fight, but he’d still come away with just the second loss of his MMA career. Evidently, it must’ve smarted – particularly as most observers believed he’d deserved the nod.
Thankfully, it didn’t take too long for a rematch to be booked. When the WEC’s roster was merged into the UFC in early 2011, the promotion wasted no time booking a Garcia/Korean Zombie rematch for UFC Fight Night 24 – almost a year after the original clash.
This time there was no wild brawl, but that didn’t mean the fight was any less exciting. More to the point, thanks to the finish delivered by the Korean Zombie, somehow it was even more memorable than the first fight.
The Korean Zombie avoided a brawl this time, and instead took Garcia to the ground. ‘Bad Boy’ was simply overmatched in the grappling department, and the first round saw the Korean Zombie run a clinic on him, albeit without finishing him. That all changed in the dying seconds of the second round.
The Korean Zombie was able to take Garcia’s back. As ‘Bad Boy’ attempted to scramble free, Jung switched and took control of his left leg with a triangle, before suddenly latching onto a twister – a submission hold attacking the spinal vertebrae. The hold had never been seen in the UFC until this point, and it was enough to force Garcia to tap out.
Even now, almost a decade later, the finish holds up as not just one of the best submission finishes in UFC history, but in MMA history too. The twister remains a low-percentage move – there’s only been one more in the UFC since – and so for the Korean Zombie to deliver it on his UFC debut was ridiculous. It remains probably his best moment in the UFC.Published 14 Oct 2020, 17:19 IST