Korean Zombie talks about his military service and how he felt leaving MMA for several years, colleagues respond to his win

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contributor

Korean Zombie vs. Dennis Bermudez (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today)

Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie” returned to the Octagon after a three-and-a-half year absence and stunned Dennis Bermudez with a first round knockout. He got rocked early, but recovered and never looked back. His takedown defense was stellar and he clearly still possesses knockout power.

The knockout also earned Jung one of the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses. After the fight, a shot of his wife crying in her seat was shown. It was the first time she got to see her husband fight in the Octagon. During Jung’s post-fight interview he mentioned the situation in his homeland of South Korea not being great. He said morale is low, but he just wanted to wish his country to be strong and to live in harmony.

Here are few tweets from his peers after his stunning knockout.


Brian Stann sat down with “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung prior to his fight against Dennis Bermudez in an interview that aired yesterday on Fight Pass. Stann welcomed Jung back to the UFC and asked what he missed the most in his absence.

Jung (via translation provided on Fight Pass): “First and foremost, I really missed being in the Octagon. Going in there and hearing the roar of the crowd. Also, while I was away, a lot of Korean fighters were doing really well. Watching my friends and peers do so well lit a fire inside me. I wanted to perform alongside them. I thought about that a lot.”

Stann asked how he mentally prepared to leave his MMA career and enter the service.

Jung: “Before I left, I was focused on the two years and felt that it would be a very long time. But, after I was there and now that I’m done, I really feel that I served my country and did my duty. I actually wish I would have gone and done it earlier.”

Stann asked what exactly did he do during his service to his country.

Jung: “I did basic training and learned how to fight in battle if I was needed. For my actual service, though, due to my separated shoulder injury from my fight with Jose Aldo, I was given a government office job.”

Stann asked regardless of what job he had it was still a large sacrifice, then asks if he was proud of it.

Jung: “This is something that all able-bodied Korean men are supposed to do. It’s our duty. I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad that I’m done with it. But, I’m very happy that I was able to fulfill my duty.”

Stann mentioned that other celebrities in Korea found a way to avoid having to serve. He then asked if he feels he’s gained more fans for serving.

Jung: “I never thought about not going. I always planned on doing my duty. It was just a matter of when. It was a matter of timing. I think people understand why I served the way that I did. They know that physically I had some issues keeping me from serving in the regular military. I feel regretful about that, but I did what I had to do.”

Stann asked if he feels like he’s a better version now than we saw prior to him serving his country.

Jung: “For the last two years, I was only able to train an hour a day or on the weekend. Even though I wasn’t able to train as hard as I would if I was in camp, I did not waste my time. I feel the skills I developed over the last two years will allow me to easily defeat Dennis Bermudez.”

Stann talked about him doing some fencing in an effort to improve his footwork, then asked how did he like it.

Jung: “Because I was only able to train an hour or two a day, I wanted to focus on my weaknesses. I decided to practice fencing because the footwork skills were very complementary with MMA. So for about six months I trained hard with fencing and really worked on my weak points.”

Stann mentioned he has two new baby girls and asks what that’s like and how has that made being a professional fighter different.

Jung: “Brian, I’m sure you understand the feelings that I have about that. Before I had kids, before I was in the army, money didn’t matter much to me. I was fighting in the UFC. I wanted to become champion. I wanted to become famous. But after having kids, I have two daughters now, my focus has completely changed. Now it’s just not about being famous and having fans. I need to take care of my family.

Stann asked if his daughters have changed him more.

Jung: “Yes, absolutely. 100 percent.”

Stann asked after this much time off from the sport, if he wins, what is it going to feel like to have his hand raised:

Jung: “I’m always excited for every win. But, it’s been almost five years since my last win. My last fight was three years ago. So if I win, I will have a lot of people to thank in Korea for their support.”

Stann asked what does he have to prove tonight?

Jung: “Before I left for my government service, I was ranked third in the division. My whole career, I’ve stated that I want to become champion and be the best. Now it’s my time to prove that I have the skills and the abilities to become champion.”

Grocke’s Analysis: It was great to see “The Korean Zombie” back inside the cage and getting back in the win column. I, for one, have a lot of respect for Chan Sung Jung and look forward to seeing him back in the Octagon soon.


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