Well ... that was unexpected.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung (13-4) will say goodbye to mixed martial arts (MMA) for no less than two years, following mandatory enlistment into the South Korean Army, according to a Facebook bomb Chung dropped earlier today.
MMAmania's own Korean Smerf provides context:
Jung tried to appeal because he was employed by an outside company (UFC) that wouldn't allow a leave of two years, but the appeal process was denied. He states that he's scared to go because of stories his friends told, but he will do what he has to do because he's a fighter and always will be. His shoulder was actually a preventative disability that refrained him from being enlisted into the military but since he had it surgically repaired, they're after him again (how's that for irony). He regrets having to go so close to another championship run and was looking forward to fighting either Conor McGregor or Jose Aldo. Jung asks fans to not forget him and thanks Dana White and the Fertitta brothers and promises he'll be back ASAP.
Jung departs Oct. 20 and returns Oct. 26, 2016.
The 27-year-old "Korean Zombie" -- ranked No. 6 in the featherweight division -- hasn't competed since a technical knockout loss to reigning 145-pound kingpin Jose Aldo back in Aug. 2013. The loss to "Junior" was followed by surgery to repair a bum shoulder, as well as a UFC-branded wedding (pic).
He has been gone ever since.
There were several compelling match ups waiting for him, including this one, so there's no question he'll be missed. And we'll definitely cheer the day when Chang comes marching home, though I can't help but wonder how different the 145-pound landscape will look upon his return.
Is the UFC featherweight division finally going green?