With Max Holloway out of a third fight against Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, everyone is waiting to see who Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will replace him with at UFC 272 on March 5, 2022. As it stands, multiple outlets are reporting that “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is UFC’s top pick. Jung’s manager has said they want the fight, and Volkanovski gave “Zombie” his seal of approval.
So, it should be simple, right? Well, as always in combat sports, maybe not.
That’s because in a video blog released at the end of Nov. 2021, Chan Sung Jung revealed he is still suffering from a serious SLAP tear in his shoulder that occurred in his fight against Dan Ige.
“I’m not going to be provoking anyone anytime soon,” Jung said, explaining why he hasn’t been calling out any competition lately. “My coaches, and even some people around me, expected some type of provocation, but I didn’t do it, and I shouldn’t, especially not right now. My shoulders aren’t in the best condition.
“What upsets me most are the comments, ‘Chan Sung’s stubborn and waiting to fight someone ranked higher than him.’ That isn’t true at all. I’m not fighting because I’m in pain. If I wasn’t hurting so much, I’d fight the first chance I got. I seriously injured my shoulders during my fight with Dan Ige a couple months ago. I was diagnosed with a SLAP tear, and anyone who has had a SLAP tear before knows how painful it is.”
SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior and posterior. This means the shoulder’s labrum tissue is torn in both the anterior (front) and posterior (back) point where it connects to the biceps. It’s a nasty injury, which explains the reason Jung is still having serious issues with it nearly six months after the Ige fight.
“Thankfully it doesn’t hurt all the time,” Jung continued. “It’s painful for me to perform ground techniques and throw hooks. My surgeons recommend that I surgically correct my SLAP tear, while my physical therapists on the other hand recommend rehabilitation. I don’t know who’s right, but I do know that I have to pick one or the other soon.
“This won’t be my first shoulder surgery,” he continued. “I’m afraid my second shoulder surgery will take longer to recover. It’ll probably take me about a year to come back. If I choose to rehabilitate it instead, I could be back in the ring in six months.”
“UFC was the first to recommend stem cell therapy. I had no idea that was an option until they told me. I was definitely interested. Stem cell therapy is the fastest way to treat and regenerate damaged tissue. I’m not 100% sure if it was the stem cell therapy or my dedication during rehab, but my shoulder has healed tremendously after my first surgery. I plan on rehabilitating my shoulder for the rest of the year. Even now I still have a hard time on the ground, especially when it comes to force. If this continues to be a problem for the remainder of the year, and I see little to no hope of getting any better, I’m probably going through with the surgery.
“You might wonder how long it will take for me to fight after my shoulder surgery,” Jung finished. “To tell you the truth, my health will always come first. If it takes me a long time to recover, then so be it. As a currently active fighter, I’m trying my best to stop thinking so pessimistically. Staying away from the ring longer than I need to is something I don’t want to do. Who knows? I might recover quickly.”
Let’s hope he has. It would suck for “Korean Zombie” to finally get a second title shot nearly nine years after the first, only to have to gut through a bad shoulder against a monster like Volkanovski.
But hey, if it turns out Chan Sung Jung is too injured to fight, Henry Cejudo would like to remind everyone he is still out there ready to go.