Chan Sung Jung earned his nickname and passionate fan base largely on his ability to withstand just about anything in a cagefight and continue competing.
“The Korean Zombie” added another chapter to that legacy in the main event of the UFC on ESPN 25 card at the Apex on Saturday night.
Jung earned a unanimous-decision victory over Las Vegan Dan Ige in a featherweight bout despite his left shoulder popping out of place on a takedown attempt in the second round.
“I felt it pop out and then back in when I took his back,” Jung said through an interpreter. “(My coaches) kept telling me to keep my hands up to defend, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt like my jab felt slower too, so it definitely had an effect.”
Jung first suffered the injury in a title bout against Jose Aldo in 2013 and has been dealing with it in various ways since losing that fight.
On Saturday, he also had to deal with a cut from a head butt midway through the fight above his eye that required stitches.
Jung, however, remained focused on the task at hand.
The 34-year-old, known for crowd-pleasing brawls, followed the wishes of his coaches and executed a more disciplined approach than normal.
He worked the jab early and then effectively utilized takedowns and submission attempts to keep Ige from opening up with his power shots. Ige started to find a rhythm in both the fourth and fifth rounds only to be halted in his tracks in the latter part of the frames by a Jung takedown and then a knee that put Ige on his back.
“After a couple rounds, I realized the game plan was working,” Jung said. “So I continued to do it. This fight made me realize I can mix up my game and eventually become champion.”
Jung admitted it was somewhat bittersweet to get his first win by decision in 13 years.
“As I move up in the ranks, it’s getting harder and harder to get knockouts and submissions,” he said. “I’m happy with the performance, but I just realize it’s getting more difficult to finish my opponents.”
Jung has now won three of his last four and hopes to be in the mix for another shot at the belt. That’s still a goal for Ige, though he has some work to do after dropping two out of three following a six-fight winning streak.
“I truly believe I can still be a champion,” he said. “I just have little things to work on.”
Las Vegan Julian Erosa’s three-fight winning streak was ended by the left hand of Seung Woo Choi just 1:37 into their featherweight bout.
The South Korean has now won three straight fights after losing in his first two UFC appearances.
Veteran welterweight Matt Brown snapped a two-fight losing streak with a second-round knockout of Dhiego Lima to kick off the main card.
The 40-year-old followed up a body shot with a crushing overhand right to end the bout.
“It just feels like another win,” he said. “I haven’t soaked it in just yet. Right now it just feels like I did my thing. I’m pleased with my performance overall. Winning is cool, it feels good. Losing, it feels like you’re in hell. It’s just the worst thing in the world.”
On the preliminary card, lightweight Rick Glenn didn’t spend very long in the cage in his return to competition for the first time since 2018.
The 32-year-old Iowan knocked out Joaquim Silva in just 37 seconds.
“This is the biggest win of my career just because I had such a low point with my hip surgery and such a long layoff,” he said. “Not being able to get back to full training for a year was tough. I just stayed consistent with my training and knew I’d be back here. I’m super thankful.”
Women’s flyweight prospect Casey O’Neill, an Australian who trains in Las Vegas, remained undefeated with a technical submission of Lara Procopio.