"The Korean Zombie," Jung Chan-sung, a 36-year-old South Korean mixed martial arts veteran, lost his battle against former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight champion Max Holloway at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Saturday, seeing the two-time UFC title challenger leaving the octagon for good.
Despite being on the losing foot throughout the fight, the Korean Zombie gave his best during the adrenaline-fueled bout.
Known for his never-back-down fighting style, Jung surged into contention at the start of the third round. A frenzied striking trade ensued until the former champion landed an overhand right against the advancing Jung, eventually knocking him out at the 23-second mark of the third round.
Before the match came to its end, Jung had his moments during striking exchanges in the first two rounds, absorbing some punches and kicks while returning them to his opponent, although he barely survived Holloway’s submission attempt after being dropped by a right hand in the second round.
The bout secured the "Fight of the Night" honors, with both fighters earning an additional $50,000 each for their exceptional performance.
In an octagon interview, Jung announced his retirement from the sport of MMA. The single-digit standings in the featherweight ranking don't hold much significance for him unless the UFC gold is strapped around his waist.
“I’m going to stop fighting,” Jung said in the cage through a translator.
“I always aimed to become a champion when I first started the sport. I’m not here to be ranked third, fourth or fifth. I tried my absolute best to prepare for Max Holloway. I really believed I could beat him. But I ended up failing, so I don’t think I have the opportunity anymore. So I think I’m going to stop fighting.”
Jung placed his gloves on the canvas and bowed his head before them, bidding farewell to MMA, a sport to which he dedicated 16 years of his life.
While his walkout song, “Zombie,” by The Cranberries, filled the arena after the fight, the crowd in Singapore sang along the iconic tune, chanting the name of the tearful warrior.
Although his MMA career never culminated in a mainstream title, Jung took pride in headlining 10 consecutive UFC main events, defeating notable fighters such as Dustin Poirier, Mark Hominick, Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano.
With a professional MMA record of 17 wins and eight losses, winning six by knockout, eight by submission, and three by decision, Jung left a lasting impression during his UFC career, including scoring the first-ever twister submission, a type of neck crank technique, and a seven-second knockout of his heavily favored opponent.
At the UFC 163 in 2013, Jung stepped up for a bout against then-champion Jose Aldo for a UFC title, only to face a harsh defeat by the fourth-round technical knockout (TKO) due to a shoulder dislocation.
He earned himself a second shot at gold against reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski at the UFC 273 in April last year, but was outclassed by the Australian champion, who finished the match via TKO in the fourth round.