February 8, 2017

UFC Fight Night 104: Chan Sung Jung's Victory Adds Spark To Featherweight Division

By Raphael Garcia

Surprises are always a good thing in sports, and UFC Fight Night 104 had its fair share of them. The return of “The Korean Zombie” was a talking point for many heading into this fight, but his nearly four years out of competition due to military service had many people picking his opponent, Dennis Bermudez. Chan Sung Jung responded by knocking “The Menace” unconscious in the first round of their main event matchup. With this win he inserts some welcome intrigue into the featherweight division.

For over two minutes, Jung reminded the world how he earned his nickname, as Bermudez landed flush shots on Jung until his tendency to duck his head down when throwing overhand rights allowed the Korean star to counter with a blistering uppercut. The win snapped. Bermudez’ two-fight win streak, and should propel Jung right back into the Top 15 rankings at featherweight, a spot he occupied before he was removed for inactivity.. Expect Jung to find his way into the conversation for a number of potential high-profile fights.

Imagine the allure of Jung pitted against the likes of Frankie Edgar or Cub Swanson. UFC President Dana White confirmed that with Jung’s victory, the UFC will likely be heading to South Korea to put on an event. A matchup between The Korean Zombie and Cub Swanson, who just faced “The Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi in 2016’s Fight of the Year, could easily main event such a showcase. Even if the UFC decides to go in another direction for that card’s main event, Jung’s big win at UFC Fight Night 104 goes a long way in pushing him towards becoming a marquee name that can headline cards throughout the Asian market.

At 29 years of age, Jung still hasn’t reached what many consider to be his “athletic prime,” and with nearly four years out of competition, it’s likely that the time away did Jung’s body well. Many fighters aren’t given an opportunity to take time away from the sport. . Jung suffered a serious injury to his shoulder in his UFC 163 loss to Jose Aldo, which would have forced him onto the shelf for an extended period of time. South Korea’s mandatory military service afforded him an even longer recovery period. Military service is far from a “vacation,” but it did result in Jung having less wear-and-tear on his body than other fighters his age.

“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung had a cult following among MMA fans before he left active competition in 2013. His successful return last weekend gave newer fight fans the opportunity to cheer for a competitor that had been off the radar for quite a while. With the featherweight division in a state of flux due to Conor McGregor’s departure from the weight class, Aldo’s uncertain future at 145, and Max Holloway as an interim champion with very few top contenders to face, Jung’s return was a welcome one, and his spectacular performance at UFC Fight Night 104 was a pleasant surprise for the sport as a whole.

UFC Fight Night 104: Bermudez vs. Korean Zombie took place February 4, 2017 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

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