Much has changed since then. The Korean Zombie has firmly established himself on the UFC roster but it is Volkanovski who reigns supreme as the current featherweight champion.
Jung’s longevity is impressive but he has yet to make the final step and become a UFC champion. That could all change this weekend when he challenges Volkanovski for his featherweight strap.
The pair will meet in the main event of UFC 273 and, speaking on a recent episode of UFC Countdown, the Korean was in a nostalgic mood,
“I can never forget the fights I had with Leonard Garcia. The first and second ones both, they made the Korean Zombie famous. I used to be one of those fighters whose only focus was to walk forward like a zombie. And I was hungry for the fans’ cheers too. I used to love that,” he recalls.
That style not only garnered one of the most famous nicknames in the sport, but also eight performance bonuses. But there have been setbacks too with The Korean Zombie missing nearly three years due to a shoulder injury and national service,
“All Korean men are required to serve in the military for two years. But at that time, I was anxious to go back to the UFC.”
He made a successful comeback but admits it wasn’t easy,
“I learned the term ‘ring rust’ for the first time then. I remember being super anxious. Because I wanted to be there so bad. Even my legs were shaking. Thankfully, I couldn’t wish for a better result.”
Jung is the best Korean fighter to ever compete in the UFC. He has spent over a decade in the featherweight top ten despite missing nearly three years during his prime.
He thinks this experience could give him an edge this weekend,
“While Volkanovski is the champion, I have fought more main events. So I can consider myself as the more experienced one. My experience will be my weapon against Volkanovski,” he said.
These days Jung prepares for his bouts at Fight Ready. He says the camp in Arizona is going from strength to strength,
“Fight Ready is becoming more widely renowned. The number of Fight Ready fighters is constantly increasing. Not just any fighters but experienced fighters like me. They understand the difference, the value only Fight Ready offers.”
The recent results have been good and he credits Fight Ready with his uptick in form,
“I’m afraid I might not be able to get ready for a fight if I’m not with Fight Ready. Fight’s Ready’s camp is that perfect. They customize everything for you.”