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UFC Vegas 29’s Korean Zombie almost retired after Ortega loss: ‘I’m just looking to turn things around’

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UFC Fight Night: Ortega v The Korean Zombie Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Chan Sung Jung will look to regain momentum in the featherweight division later tonight (Sat. June 19, 2021) when he takes on Dan Ige in the main event of UFC Vegas 29 live on ESPN2/ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 44 On ESPN+

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Dec 4, 2021, with a thrilling Bantamweight contenders’ bout that will see No. 4-ranked Rob Font battle No. 5-seeded Jose Aldo. In UFC Vegas 44’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Lightweight contender, Brad Riddell, squares off with No. 14-seeded Rafael Fiziev in a striking fan’s dream fight.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Jung, who is entering his eighth-straight UFC main event, is coming off a disappointing loss to Brian Ortega back in Oct. 2020. “Korean Zombie” was coming off back-to-back knockouts wins over Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano and could have locked down a UFC title shot with a win over Ortega, but “T-City” got the best of that matchup and will now face current champion Alexander Volkanovski later this year.

Needless to say, this is a massive fight for “Korean Zombie” and one that could land him right back in contention at 145 pounds.

“I’m excited to get back in the ring,” Jung told What the Heck through his translator (via MMA Fighting). “I still feel like title contention is possible for me and this fight is the first step in getting back there.”

Luckily for fight fans, Jung is mentally ready to compete. Following his loss to Ortega last year the Korean veteran contemplated retirement from the sport. Jung has sustained some reasonable damage throughout his career, but nothing that should prompt his early exit from MMA. “Korean Zombie” eventually battled his demons and decided to make another run at UFC gold.

“I thought about getting back on track right away after the fight. I had a slight [thought] of possibly retiring, but that didn’t last too long,” Jung said. “I wanted to get back in there and show my skill sets, what I wasn’t able to do in that last fight and get back to training.

“Most athletes, when you take a loss like that, especially at the higher levels, everybody slightly thinks about retiring. I truly believe that. It does definitely creep in your head.

“Losing is always hard, whether it’s to Ortega or anybody,” Jung continued. “I might’ve made a slight mistake doing my camp in Korea and that’s why I’m back in the States — which, we’re 2-0 when we do our camps out here — and I’m just looking to turn things around. It’s not my first loss, hopefully it’s my last, and it’s just a part of fighting. I’m ready to show my skill set in this fight.”

Fortunately for Jung, he’ll have a worthy dance partner later tonight at UFC Vegas 29. While Ige isn’t the same household name of a Max Holloway or even a Yair Rodriguez, “Dynamite” is one of the more well-rounded fighters in the division and a contender coming off a 22-second knockout finish over Gavin Tucker (see it HERE).

“Everybody in this division right now is either locked up with somebody, and with Dan Ige’s last performance he feels like he’s a [worthy] opponent,” Jung explained. “Zabit Magomedsharipov is retired or injured, Max Holloway was waiting for the belt, Yair Rodriguez got him, Brian Ortega is getting the title shot. So if you look at the rankings, all that was literally left was Ige. Calvin Kattar wasn’t ready yet, so there was nobody left and, technically, this was the only fight to make that made any sense.

“This was the only fight left to get back to a title shot. I’m excited to fight Dan. I think it’s gonna be a good fight and every fight you have to be excited and focused because you can’t go in underestimating a guy. We’re not underestimating Dan by any means and I think he’s a really good fighter. He was on a six-fight win streak [at one time] and the kid is really good. The guys that he’s beat, the record speaks for itself. He’s ranked No. 7 and he’s a dangerous, dangerous kid.”

As for the fight itself “Korean Zombie” believes he’ll be presented with an opportunity to score a finish. Ige certainly possesses power in his hands and is more than capable of giving Jung a run for his money, but Jung is more polished on the feet and on the ground. He should have a few chances to put a hurting on Ige and capture the win he needs to get back in the title hunt.

“The game plan is to always be ready to go [the distance], but I’m looking for the finish,” Jung stated. “I won’t be surprised if I get the knockout or a submission, but I feel like it can go any which way, and I’m sure they feel the same way. We both have wins on the ground and on the feet, and that’s what makes it an intriguing fight. Everyone thinks it will be a banger — who knows, it might be a wrestling match, it might be a jiu-jitsu match. Anything can happen and that’s why this sport is so exciting when you have two guys like us getting in the cage June 19.”

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 29 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN2/ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.