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Chan Sung Jung won't change his bullish approach despite recent setbacks

·Combat columnist
·3 min read
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LAS VEGAS — Early in his bout with Brian Ortega on Fight Island in October, Chan Sung Jung was hit with an elbow to the head. He wobbled through the fight like, well, a zombie for the rest of the bout.

He wound up losing a unanimous decision that dropped him to 3-3 in his last six outings.

On Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN+) at Apex, he’ll get a chance to turn things around when he faces Dan Ige in the main event of UFC Vegas 29. Jung does not feel he showed all that he can do in the loss to Ortega, so he wants to make that point when he faces Ige.

There are, he said, several distinct advantages he holds even though he repeatedly went out of his way to praise Ige.

“We are similar in a lot of ways,” the fourth-ranked Jung said of Ige, who is eighth in the UFC’s featherweight rankings. “He’s well-rounded, he loves to brawl and he’s become a crowd favorite. I feel I am a better finisher and I have the edge in cardio.”

Jung was done in by elbows in his last two losses. The elbow that Ortega landed came early, while he was defeated by one of the best elbows ever on Nov. 10, 2018, when Yair Rodriguez caught him with a spinning shot and finished him at 4:59 of the final round.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 18:  (L-R) ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung punches Brian Ortega in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 18, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Chan Sung Jung punches Brian Ortega in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on Oct. 18, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Getting caught with those kinds of shots is the risk that any fighter who is as aggressive and as oriented on getting a finish as Jung must accept. But that’s not going to change his approach.

“I am always looking to finish and you just have to accept what comes with that,” he said. “There is no [controversy] when there is a submission or a knockout. You know [who won]. And when you fight that way, you get the crowd involved and it makes it a lot more exciting.”

Jung has probably faced better competition as a whole than Ige has. Among the notches on his belt are Dustin Poirier and Frankie Edgar, two of the best of recent vintage in the UFC and both near-certain Hall of Famers.

Whether that gives him an edge is questionable, because Ige is one of the hottest fighters in the sport and is coming off an impressive 22-second KO of Gavin Tucker.

He said he’s made it a point to try to pick up something from each fighter he’s fought.

“This sport is about learning and growth and every fight is a learning lesson, if you are open for it,” he said. “Everything I have learned in my previous fights I will bring into the [Octagon] with me for this fight. I am in title contention, ranked No. [four] and I am still getting better because I am interested in learning.

“This is a lifetime journey. This is another step on the way. [Ige] has also learned and grown, too, so we will show where we have come from in this fight.”

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