Chan Sung Jung attracted a cult following in the UFC. | Photo: Daniel Herbertson
SEOUL, South Korea – At just 24 years old, Chan Sung Jung has accomplished a lot in his five-year professional career in mixed martial arts, constantly progressing from Pancrase and Deep to the Sengoku Raiden Championship, WEC and UFC. He won the honors of WEC “Luta da Noite” and UFC “Finalização da Noite”, refined one of the most exciting MMA styles and sold more than a few black and blue T-shirts along the way.
Outside the cage, it is difficult to reconcile the aggressive fighting style with the silent, smiling guy who has already been passed over by the Korean equivalent of “The Ultimate Fighter” because he was not extroverted enough during the interview process.
In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, “The Korean Zombie” discusses his fighting strategy, his MMA roots and who he would most like to punch in the face as he prepares for his fight with Mark Hominick at UFC 140 this Saturday at Air Canada Center in Toronto.
Jung: When I was in high school, I used to be beaten up all the time because I was weak. Finally, my aunt felt sorry for me and took me to a martial arts academy. At first I didn’t want to be a fighter, but after several years of training, things got easier and the fight started to feel natural to me. I consider every Korean professional fighter I have watched since I started fighting as an amateur as a hero.
Jung: This was a great opportunity for me. In fact, I was invited to that event so that Michihiro Omigawa could have a triumphant return after he left the UFC. Now I’m in the UFC and I think it’s because I dedicated myself to my training since that fight.
Jung: I had the chance to compete in the WEC because of that fight with Pajonsuk. In fact, at the time, I wasn’t getting any calls from Sengoku. It was difficult for me to get fights and I figured that although I was probably going to lose to a big kick boxer like Pajonsuk, it would be a good chance to gain experience. Although the result is recorded as a loss [due to an illegal strike], and even if I could lose if I fought him again, I would do it with pleasure. I’m in the UFC right now, so no matter what’s on paper, I feel like I just won by fighting him.
Jung: Yes, I will continue to focus more on defense. I’m afraid of being knocked out in front of a crowd like that again. But even if I work more in defense, I don’t think I’m going to lose my style. People seemed to like it when I started to cheer [against Garcia at UFC Fight Night 24].
Jung: There is no big difference between training in Korea and training in the United States. The Korean Top Team is the best team in Korea. The submission fight there is excellent, and KTT has some fighters who are prepared to move on to bigger shows. As for Team Alpha Male, I will not forget the kindness I received from Urijah Faber and my other friends there. I will train there again for sure. I am currently training MMA in the morning and cross-training in the afternoon. I am preparing a special attack for Mark Hominick. I know that fans want to see incredible attacks.
Jung: Honestly, I don’t know how to assess myself; I just like my style because everyone seems to like it. As I said, I am preparing a special attack to knock out Mark Hominick.
Jung: “Captain Save-a-Hoe!” In fact, when I was in Sacramento, I just sang along with the [E-40] music without really knowing the words. Only when I returned to Korea did I discover what it meant. Man, I laughed a lot.
Jung: I had a hard time as an amateur. Without the help of my friends and coaches from the Korean Top Team, it would have been difficult to survive. But now I can buy and eat whatever I want. It is because of the bonuses. Many people think that I made a lot of money with the “Korean Zombie” t-shirts, but that is not the case. This created a very stressful situation. I heard from some people connected to the UFC that they think I get more publicity because of the T-shirts. I don’t know what the reason is; all i know is that any publicity is good for an asian guy like me fighting in the united states. The business is difficult. I don’t want to talk about it anymore (smiles).
Jung: In the USA, for sure; the support I get from American fans is amazing and I really appreciate that. I am not well known in Korea. This is a little sad, but it makes things easier for me.
Jung: I’m already a master of most zombie movies, but nowadays, I’m really addicted to the second season of “The Walking Dead”.
Jung: I would like to punch George Roop. It doesn’t matter how. I think you know the reason, don’t you? This will become a reality in the near future.
Noeul Park provided assistance in translating this report.