Chan Sung Jung – better known by his nickname “The Korean Zombie” – is one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. Unfortunately, it’s been years since we’ve seen him in action, as he’s been kept on the shelf by the two years of mandatory military service required of all South Korean men.
Luckily for the hordes of Korean Zombie fans out there, the all-action undead star is poised for a return to action in just over 24 hours. He’ll be taking on dangerous featherweight contender Dennis Bermudez in the main event of the UFC’s Saturday return to Houston, Texas.
In anticipation of the Korean Zombie’s long awaited comeback, we’ve compiled a list of the five best fights of his career. Click next to see them!
5. Chan Sung Jung vs. Jose Aldo
We haven’t seen the Korean Zombie in the Octagon since August of 2013, when he challenged dominant champion Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title. A quick look at the history book, of course, reveals that the Zombie not only lost this fight, but was actually finished by his Brazilian foe.
So, why is the Korean’s losing effort against Aldo on this list? Well, first because he brought the fight to Aldo, wading into striking range with the dynamic champion in a way that few fighters had before him. More notably, however, is the heart that our undead hero showed in the closing moments of this fight. Mid-way through the fourth round, it became clear that he had dislocated his shoulder. Aldo, evidently smelling blood in the water, then began to pour on the ground-and-pound. Despite this onslaught of strikes, the Korean Zombie bravely attempted to reset is dislocated shoulder so that he’d be able to fight on. Unfortunately, the referee decided enough was enough, and stopped the fight.
4. Chan Sung Jung vs. Leonard Garcia 1
The Korean Zombie and Leonard Garcia first met at WEC 48, all the way back in 2010. This fight would go down as one of the best fights ever, and in the opinion of some fans the best fight ever, outright.
This contest, of course, was more of an all-out-brawl than a technical showcase, but it really was an incredible one, and a testament to the kind of fighter The Korean Zombie is. Though he’s the owner of some incredible striking and grappling skill (both of which you’ll see later on on this list) he’s more than willing to throw caution to the wind and let it all hang out when the opportunity arises. This is precisely what he did against Garcia.
Unfortunately, the Zombie’s efforts in this wild scrap did not earn him the win. Instead, the judges gave Garcia a split decision victory – though that decision is still criticized to this day.
3. Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick
Mark Hominick entered his 2011 bout with the Korean Zombie having just gone five rounds with featherweight champ Jose Aldo. He was also known, at the time, as one of the best strikers in the featherweight division. As such, it seemed to be in the Korean Zombie’s best interest to ground the fight as quickly as possible and get to work with his grappling.
Instead, the Korean Zombie opted to meet Hominick in the center of the Octagon where, just seconds into the fight, he put his opponent down with a right hand, and polished him off with a series of ground strikes. The official time of the stoppage was the seven-second mark of round one. This lightning quick knockout would tie Todd Duffee’s destruction of Tim Hague as the fastest in UFC history – though it is often argued that that record should belong to Duane Ludwig.
Needless to say, this was an impressive win, and one of the best moments of the Korean Zombie’s incredible career.
2. Korean Zombie vs. Leonard Garcia 2
The first time the Korean Zombie and Leonard Garcia met, they produced one of the most legendary brawls in MMA history. The second time they met, the South Korean fan favorite achieved one of the finest wins of his career, making UFC history as he did.
After a fun first round, the Zombie dropped his foe with a kick in the second. From there, he dove into Garcia’s guard, softened him up with some ground-and-pound, took his back, flattened him out, and ultimately locked up an extremely rare twister as the final seconds of the round ticked off the clock. It was the first time we’d ever seen this submission in the Octagon, and we haven’t seen it since.
1. Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier
The Korean Zombie’s first fight with Leonard Garcia was an absolutely frenzied brawl. His 2012 scrap with Dustin Poirier, in contrast, was an incredibly technical battle; a riveting display of the entire MMA toolbox; just the kind of fight you want to show to an MMA skeptic who has never witnessed the true beauty of the sport.
For just over four rounds of a possible five, the Korean and his American foe battled, threatening each other with submissions and pummelling one another with wild shots on the feet, testing the durability of each other’s jaws, and leaving ours on the floor. Yet while the young Poirier certainly had his moments, the Korean Zombie ultimately showcased some serious craftiness, locking up a beautiful Brabo choke in the fourth round for the W.
To this day, this incredible battle is considered by many to be one of the greatest fights in UFC history.
What has been your favorite moment of the Korean Zombie’s career thus far? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/3/2017.