USA TODAY: UFC 163's 'Korean Zombie' says nickname a blessing and curse


chan-sung-jung-6.jpg(This story appeared in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

The posters advertising UFC 163 make it tough to tell if you’re about to watch a professional MMA fight or a monster movie.

“World Featherweight Championship,” it says at the very top. “Aldo vs. Korean Zombie.”

Nowhere on the posters trumpeting his clash with UFC 145-pound champion Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in Brazil on Saturday (pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET) does it mention Chan Sung Jung‘s actual name. Which, surprisingly enough, is exactly how the featherweight challenger likes it.

“I prefer it that way,” Jung (13-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who’s known to fight fans as “The Korean Zombie,” largely because of his ability and willingness to keep marching forward through all manner of violence, told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I think it’s the best (nickname) in MMA.”

It certainly is distinctive, and it looks cool on a T-shirt. But Jung has found that a nickname like that also comes with some baggage. In the lead-up to his featherweight title shot in Rio de Janeiro, the UFC has marketed the South Korean fighter as a man capable of withstanding “inhuman” punishment.

And sure, Jung said, he’s at least a little proud of his ability to take a punch. But he didn’t leave his home in Seoul and fly halfway around the world just to get beaten up.

“It’s very important to me to put on exciting fights,” Jung said. “I like that fighting style and I want to entertain the fans as much as possible. But winning is obviously the most important thing.”

That’s a lesson Jung learned in painful fashion several years ago. He became a cult favorite among MMA fans after his North American debut against Leonard Garcia in the now-defunct WEC organization. For three rounds, Jung and Garcia battered one another in a thrilling brawl that landed both men in the hospital. Jung lost that fight via split decision, but it was hailed by many as the fight of the year.

Clearly fans loved the “zombie” style, Jung figured, which is why he tried to give them even more of it his next appearance in the cage, when he faced George Roop at WEC 51. That’s when Jung walked straight into a head-kick knockout that taught him the difference between exciting and reckless, he said.

“A lot of how I fight is instinctual,” he said. “Especially in that first Garcia fight, I fought on my instincts, what people describe as the zombie style. After the George Roop fight, I did a lot of thinking about my fighting style. For this fight as well, I’ve thought a lot about how it’s going to unfold. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think I’ve changed.”

Jung knows he’ll be facing a hostile environment when he fights a Brazilian champion on his home turf, where fans are known for chanting “You’re going to die!” in Portuguese. Still, he has his own supporters who love him for more than his ability to get hit and remain conscious.

“The people in Korea are very aware of this fight,” Jung said. “It seems like this is probably the biggest event, as far as Korean MMA goes. Most people in Korea know about the UFC on some level. They know what this fight means. It’s just a matter of winning the fight now.”

For more on UFC 163, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 18 days ago
  • 1 views

Despite the magnitude of UFC 182 and a number of pivotal matchups, this week’s USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings didn’t see many changes, and a familiar name remains on top.Filed under: Bellato read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 8 views

Following a strong effort against Chris Weidman in July, Lyoto Machida took his first step last Saturday toward a rematch with the champion. It took Machida 62 seconds to put C.B. Dollaway down. The read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 7 views

Anthony Christodoulou will make his Octagon debut at UFC on Fox 14 when he squares off against Mairbek Taisumov. read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 2 views

The UFC will make its sixth trip to Rio de Janeiro on March 21, but this time it won’t be for a pay-per-view show. After hosting five pay-per-view events in the "Marvelous City", the UFC will return read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 3 views

The year’s final edition of the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings are complete, but it won’t take long for there to be some real potential for change in 2015.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 8 views

Four-time UFC veteran Isaac Vallie-Flagg today announced he’s no longer employed by the sport’s largest promotion.Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 5 views

Consider it a postponement. Burgeoning women's MMA talent Holly Holm was supposed to meet Raquel Pennington in her UFC debut earlier this month. That didn't happen when Holm injured her neck. But tha read news >>

  • 24 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC 182 is set to be one of the company's biggest events in a long time. It boasts a championship main event between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier that is probably the biggest in the division because read news >>

  • 24 days ago
  • 6 views

UFC President today confirmed what Rory MacDonald wanted to avoid. The welterweight standout has to wait his turn. read news >>