The “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung Talks Poirier, Main Events, MMA Korea & More!
By Christopher Jester
The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, has become synonymous with exciting and Fight of the Night performances. While becoming popular with his spirited performance against Leonard Garcia in the WEC, Chan Sung Jung is now building up on a title run with calculating and smart fight game plans rather than his devil may care performances of the past. In this exclusive interview, The Korean Zombie will detail what made him change from his aggressive style, and why his fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC on FX 3 is so important to him.
PDG: Your last fight was a stirring and quick knockout over Mark Hominick, how did that affect you morale wise?
Korean Zombie: It was a great win for me. Coming off a win like that gives me momentum coming into this next fight.
PDG: The general consensus is that if you defeat Dustin Poirier at UFC on FX 3 you will be the #1 contender for the UFC Featherweight title; does this put any added pressure on you?
Korean Zombie: I guess a little bit, but in a good way. It’s a great opportunity for me to be fighting Dustin Poirier and to be talked about in relation to the title. But, first and foremost, I have to beat Dustin.
PDG: In your opinion, if you defeat Poirier, do you believe you deserve a title shot and why?
Korean Zombie: Yes, I think it makes sense for the winner of our fight to challenge for the title. There are a lot of things happening in the FW division every day, but timing-wise, I think that whoever comes out the winner of our fight should get a shot at the belt.
PDG: Since your losses to Leonard Garcia and George Roop in the WEC, you have brawled less and have been more technical in your approach to fighting. Did those losses change your stance on fighting aggressively?
Korean Zombie: The KO loss to Roop definitely had an impact on the way that I fight. I had never been knocked out before then and I had really started to get reckless with my defense. That fight taught me that I needed to fight smarter and develop more as a fighter. Since then, I’ve been working hard on developing my all around game. Getting knocked out like that was a real wake-up call for me. It was a blessing in disguise!
PDG: I assume that you are already a superstar in South Korea, how is your popularity in North America?
Korean Zombie: Actually, I’d say it’s closer to the opposite… I have been better known in the US than here in Korea up until the Hominick fight. After my first fight with Leonard Garcia, I had already started to build a pretty large fan base in the US, but very few people knew about me in Korea. However, after UFC 140, my popularity in Korea has increased quite a bit.
PDG: How has your training been for your fight against Dustin Poirier; what does Poirier bring into his fights that you should be wary of?
Korean Zombie: Dustin is a very tough, physical fighter and very well rounded. He presents a threat in all aspects– whether standing up or on the ground, but I feel confident wherever the fight goes.
PDG: Ok, with that being said; do you have a preference in where the fight takes place? Standing up or on the ground?
Korean Zombie: I always like to keep things standing, if possible, but I’m comfortable wherever the fight goes. I’ve won the majority of my victories by submission, so my grappling speaks for itself, but I pride myself on my striking.
That said, I doubt that Dustin will want to keep it standing with me.
PDG: You’ve had four fights in North America; does it affect you in any way fighting overseas?
Korean Zombie: Absolutely. Getting over the jetlag is really tough. We have to come in at least 10 days before the fight to get used to the time difference. I think that’s one thing that people don’t really understand. It is easier coming from the US to Asia, but going from Korea to the US is really tough on the body. Something about traveling in that direction is just hard.
PDG: How is the sport of MMA in your home country (events, growth, etc)?
Korean Zombie: It’s been growing a lot lately. MMA boomed several years back, when PRIDE was really big, and then it died down for a while with the demise of Japanese MMA and local Korean MMA promotions. But, it’s been slowly making a comeback with the rise in popularity of the UFC. There are more and more MMA gyms popping up all over the place and the level of talent here in Korea is really good compared to the old days.
I think this second wave of Korean MMA is good, because there’s more of a foundation for growth, whereas the first wave was more of a “bubble”. Korean MMA is probably bigger than Japanese MMA at this point. We just need the UFC to come in and put on an event here!
PDG: How does it feel to be in the main event of a UFC card?
Korean Zombie: It feels incredible. It’s good for me and it’s good for Korean MMA. I hope it’s just the first of many!
PDG: What are some of the things you like to do outside of MMA (Do you play any video games)?
Korean Zombie: I don’t play games much. Honestly, I don’t do much other than train. These days training and promoting myself and my team take up most of my time. In my time off, I try to rest as much as possible and spend time with my girlfriend.
PDG: I know you likely don’t want to look past Poirier, but what are your thoughts on Jose Aldo as a fighter and as a champion?
Korean Zombie: I’m definitely not looking past Poirier. He’s my focus right now, but if you’re asking my opinion on Aldo as a fighter… He’s obviously a great fighter. He’s got the total package, but we haven’t really seen much of his ground game, yet. But, if you’ve seen any video of him doing BJJ, you know it is top notch. His striking is aggressive and crisp.
He’s dominated the FW division for a while now, but I’d like to get a shot at taking the title from him. I feel like I’m the guy to do it.
PDG: How did you get the nickname ‘Korean Zombie’? Are you a big fan of the Zombie genre?
Korean Zombie: I got the nickname from my teammates at Korean Top Team, because in sparring I never back down, I always move forward and I was impossible to knockdown. No matter what, I keep taking shots and keep moving forward.
Honestly, I wasn’t really into zombies before, but I do find myself rooting for them now!
PDG: Thanks for your time, is there anything else that you wanted to add?
Korean Zombie: As always, I want to thank the fans. I hope that I can continue to promote Korean MMA and pave the way for more Korean fighters!
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
Post your comments directly below! You can also discuss the latest MMA & Video Game News in the PunchDrunkGamer Forums and don’t forget to Follow PDG on Twitter @PunchDrunkGamer and Like the PDG Official Facebook Page!