UFC featherweight fighter Jung Chan-sung – better known as “The Korean Zombie” – hinted at his retirement after losing his championship match on Saturday.
In a post-fight Octagon interview with Joe Rogan, Jung, 35, confessed that although he felt “the most confident” he ever has in his career entering the match, he “hit a brick wall” that he “could not overcome” during the fight. The event was Jung’s second-ever title opportunity after losing to José Aldo in 2013.
In Saturday’s main event, Jung went against Australian three-time reigning champion Alexander “the Great” Volkanovski, whose impressive record of 24-1 made him the heavy favorite to win. After his victory over Jung, Volkanovski now stands at 21 wins in a row, 11 of them in the UFC.
“What do you do now? Do you go back and reassess?” asked Rogan to a bloody-faced Jung. “This was obviously a gigantic moment for you: your second-ever title opportunity. Give us your thoughts on where you go from here.”
Jung, who had previously stated that this year would probably be his last shot at a featherweight title, responded by hinting at his possible retirement.
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“After every loss, of course I always think about leaving the Octagon, leaving this MMA game, but I’ll need more time to think about it,” responded Jung via his translator, “I feel at the moment that I am no longer capable of winning a championship. I’m not sure if it’s right to continue [fighting].”
Despite the odds being in Volkanovski’s favor, many fans rooted for Jung, whose win would have been a historic first for Asian fighters. At the UFC 273 press conference prior to the fight, a member of the audience came to the mic and asked:
“You have a lot of fans in China, and if you win this fight you’ll be the first-ever Korean and male Asian champion. So what do you think your [win] will mean for the Asian MMAA?”
A calm and confident Jung answered: “A lot of people think that Asian men not being able to become champions means Asian men are weak, but that is not the case.
“It’s because Asian men are not given as much opportunity as perhaps other races, and if I become champion then more Asian fighters – more Asian MMA fighters – will be given the opportunity to fight in the UFC and potentially become champion.”
On Sunday, Korean American rapper and former AOMG CEO Jay Park, who had signed Jung to his then-label in 2018 after being a longtime fan, praised Jung on his long and successful fight career in an Instagram post:
“9 main events, 2 time featherweight title challenger, 15 years in the sport. Future hall of famer. Great father, Great husband, Great Coach, Great fighter and an even better person! My brotha a LEGEND #KoreanZombie win or lose it’s #teamZombie”