The Korean Zombie appeared on the MMA Hour recently. Coach Edie Cha was translating for him and the featherweight title challenger opened up about the first time he fought for the belt.

Cha explained that,

“When he fought Aldo, he wasn’t actually ready at that time. He said nine years ago, nobody could beat Jose Aldo. Nobody even thought about beating him, nobody entertained that (idea). And he’s so happy he was fortunate enough to fight him, because he has the experience now to actually step up and win a title shot.”

Staying persistent

The Korean Zombie faces Alex Volkanovski at UFC 273. According to Cha it is a moment that his fighter has been working towards ever since that defeat to Aldo in 2019,

“He’s always believed that someday he’d get another title shot. It’s always been his dream to get another title shot and become a champion so he just stayed persistent. He wasn’t sure if he was ever going to get this opportunity again, but he worked his butt off, and the persistence and the hard work… and here we are today.”

Totally different

The Korean Zombie also opened up on his decision to start training with Cha in Arizona instead of preparing for fights in his native Korea. He earned his nickname for a style that involved constantly walking forwards and absorbing punishment.

But Cha explained that the fighter felt he needed to take a more analytical approach to fighting and training,

“If he thinks of it as just like a fight, like a brawl, and just scrapping in there, then he can actually train in Korea. But now he looks at this as a sport, where he’s actually competing, looking to win rounds. We always talk about him as, we’re trying to win seconds, sequences. We’re trying to win minutes — minutes will win rounds, rounds wins fights. So his perspective on competing, fighting, is totally, totally different.”