Sung Jung has drawn a cult following in the UFC. | Photo: Daniel
SEOUL, South Korea -- At only 24 years of age, Chan Sung
Jung has already accomplished much in his five-year
professional mixed martial arts career, progressing steadily from
Raiden Championship, the
WEC and the
UFC. He has garnered WEC “Fight of the Night” and UFC
“Submission of the Night” honors, refined one of the most exciting
styles in MMA 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 quiet, smiley guy who was once passed up
for the Korean equivalent of “The Ultimate Fighter” because he was
not outgoing enough during the interview process.
In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, “The Korean Zombie”
discusses his fight strategy, his MMA roots and who he would most
like to punch in the face as he prepares for his matchup with
Hominick at UFC
140 this Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Jung: When I was in middle school, I used to get beaten up all the
time because I was weak. Eventually, my aunt felt sorry for me and
she took me to a martial arts gym. In the beginning, I didn’t want
to be a fighter, but after several years of training, things got
easier and fighting began to feel natural to me. I consider every
Korean professional fighter I’ve ever watched since I began
fighting as an amateur as a hero.
Jung: That was a pretty big opportunity for me. In fact, I was
invited to that event so that Michihiro Omigawa could have a
triumphant homecoming after he left the UFC. Now, I am in the UFC
and I think that it is because I’ve been dedicated to my training
ever since that fight.
Jung: I got the chance to compete in the WEC because of that fight
with Pajonsuk. Actually, at the time, I wasn’t getting any calls
from Sengoku. It was hard for me to get fights, and I figured that,
even though I would probably lose to a great kick boxer like
Pajonsuk, it would be a good chance to gain experience. Though the
result is recorded as a loss [due to an illegal strike], and even
though I could lose if I fought him again, I would gladly do it.
I’m in the UFC now, so no matter what’s on paper, I feel like I won
just by fighting him.
Jung: Yes, I will continue to concentrate more on defense. I’m
afraid of getting knocked out in front of a big crowd like that
again. But even if I work more on defense, I don’t think I will
lose my style. People seemed to like it when I broke out the
twister [against Garcia at UFC Fight Night 24].
Jung: There isn’t that big a difference between training in Korea
and training in the United States. Korean Top Team is the best team
in Korea. The submission wrestling there is excellent, and KTT has
quite a few fighters who are prepared to move on to bigger shows.
As for Team Alpha Male, I won’t forget the kindness that I received
from Urijah Faber
and my other friends there. I’ll train there again for sure. Right
now, I am training MMA in the morning and cross-training in the
afternoons. I’m preparing a special attack for Mark Hominick. I
know that fans want to see awesome attacks.
Jung: Honestly, I don’t know how to evaluate myself; I just like my
style because everybody else seems to like it. Like I said, I am
preparing a special attack designed to knock out Mark Hominick.
Jung: “Captain Save-a-Hoe!” Actually, when I was in Sacramento, I
just sang along with the [E-40] song without really knowing the
words. It wasn’t until I got back to Korea that I figured out what
it meant. Man, I laughed my head off.
Jung: I had a tough time as an amateur. Without the help of my
friends and coaches at Korean Top Team, it would have been
difficult to get by. But now I can buy and eat whatever I want.
It’s because of the bonuses. Many people think that I’ve made a lot
of money from the “Korean Zombie” T-shirts, but that’s not the
case. That’s created a pretty stressful situation. I’ve heard from
a few people associated with 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. Business is difficult. I don’t want
to talk about it anymore (smiles).
Jung: In the U.S., for sure; the support I get from American fans
is surprising and I really appreciate it. I’m not well-known in
Korea. That’s a little sad, but it makes things easier on me.
Jung: I’m already a master of most zombie movies, but, nowadays,
I’m really hooked on “The Walking Dead” Season 2.
Jung: I would like to punch George Roop. It doesn’t matter how. I
think you know the reason, don’t you? It will come true in the near
Noeul Park provided translation assistance for this report.