When Max Holloway pulled out of his UFC 272 title shot against Alexander Volkanovski, fans wondered if “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung would be healthy enough to be a replacement option.
Ultimately, the promotion picked Jung (17-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) as the replacement with the championship bout pushed back a month to UFC 273 on April 9. According to Jung’s manager Jason House of Iridium Sports Agency, the shoulder Jung injured in his last fight has healed.
There was no rushing back from injury or “sucking it up” to capitalize on the opportunity. The short-notice intervention falls exactly on the schedule they planned before their title shot bid.
“The shoulder is good,” House told MMA Junkie on Friday. “We were planning to fight in late April or early May, which was kind of what I was suggesting to the UFC beforehand. This opportunity has presented itself and we are ready to go. It’s just on a timeline a bit earlier. Being at Fight Ready, being in Arizona, they have a great camp there, great facilities and amenities. We will be fully ready to leave on April 9.
Negotiations went well between his agency and the promotion, House said. The fight was finalized within days. The short notice was no problem for Jung, who worked over eight years to regain title challenger status after a failed bid against Jose Aldo at UFC 163.
“Before that happened, ‘KZ’ was always telling me, ‘You don’t turn down title shots. When they call you Jason and I’m not available, say yes. He was always very adamant about this topic,” House said. “With this opportunity, it’s become the news. Really, when you look at the rankings, we’re the highest ranked fighter after a win. Volkanovski and KZ had had competitive banter in the past, so I felt like we had a good chance of getting it because there’s history there. ‘KZ’ has just had a great victory and I thought it was very likely to happen.
Jung is currently in South Korea, but on Feb. 6 he is returning to Arizona to train for Fight Ready MMA, House added. Under trainer Eddie Cha, “The Korean Zombie” presents a tough test for Volkanovski (23-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC), House predicted.
“I think there are multiple paths to victory for us,” House said. “It’s really about sitting down, studying a lot of the film about Volkanovski and seeing which ones would benefit us the most. His head coach Eddie Cha and I have been discussing it for a few days now. Were excited. We prepare properly by getting him the right sparring partners to imitate and simulate Volkanovski. I really feel that we are going to have advantages. KZ always does well with fighters he has the length and size on. We believe we will have this fight.
Photos: ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung through the years
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