When he stepped away from fighting to fulfill his duty of serving two-years in the South Korean Army, Chan Sung Jung was the third-ranked featherweight in the world. He stepped back into the Octagon for the first time on Saturday since August 2013, and sent a message to the 145-pound division. “The Korean Zombie” is back.
Jung faced ninth-ranked Dennis Bermudez in the UFC Fight Night 104 main event in Houston, and scored a first-round knockout over the 30-year-old American.
Bermudez stunned Jung with a heavy right hand early in the round, but Jung clinched and gave himself enough time to recover. Bermudez looked to get the fight to the ground a couple of times, but Jung was able to defend the takedown attempts.
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Jung began walking down Bermudez midway through the frame. The two exchanged right hands and jabs. Neither backed down from letting punches go in the pocket. Jung slipped a jab and fired an uppercut that landed perfectly, sending Bermudez crumbling to the canvas. Two right hands later, referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop Bermudez from taking any more damage.
“It definitely felt different from sparring. When I got in there, I felt like this is the real thing. This is the Octagon,” he said about returning after such a long layoff.
Jung displayed improved takedown defense than he had in 2013. While serving in the military, Jung continued to work on his skill set, and it showed.
“The time I was away from the game I was practicing a lot. One of the things I worked on the most was my wrestling as well as my footwork,” he said.
Prior to Saturday, the last time we saw Jung in the cage was against Jose Aldo for the featherweight title at UFC 163. With the win over Bermudez, Jung showed he’s still a contender in the division.
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