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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Korean Zombie after TKO loss at UFC 273?

UFC 273 went down last Sat. night (April 9, 2022) and provided fight fans with a thrilling night of action. Plenty of fighters were left feeling the post-fight blues, including Gilbert Burns, who came up short against Khamzat Chimaev despite a valiant attempt to derail the “Borz” hype train in their “Fight of the Year” candidate (see it here).

And former bantamweight champion Petr Yan, who failed to unify the 135-pound titles after losing a razor-thin spit decision to Aljamain Sterling (recap). But which fighter is feeling the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Chan Sung Jung.

“Korean Zombie” didn’t hesitate to step in to face featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski after he was called upon to do so following Max Holloway’s injury. After all, no contender is going to pass on a free shot at the division title — even if it comes against a champion who has looked as unstoppable as Volkanovski.

Despite giving it his best effort, Jung simply didn’t have much to offer Alexander “The Great,” suffering a one-sided beatdown and eventual fourth round technical knockout (TKO) defeat at the hands of the dominant titleholder.

As usual, “Korean Zombie” showed that sometimes he is too tough for his own good, living up to his moniker by refusing to waver before referee Herb Dean eventually (and mercifully) put an end to the punishment. This was no doubt a crushing defeat for Jung, who drops to 0-2 in UFC title fights. Afterward, the challenger was overcome with emotion inside the cage, shedding tears alongside his wife.

“It’s sad or regretful, or something like that, but there’s no such thing,” Jung wrote on social media a day later. “I feel relieved, my physical condition was perfect and all the camps were perfect, but I lost so perfectly haha. I’m sorry to those who looked forward to me, thank you to those who worried about me.

“I’m okay, I’m just disappointed to learn that a champion is like this. I hope that Korean martial arts will be helpful to the next generation,” Jung concluded. “And I want to say thank you to Alex Volkanovski for showing the dignity of a champion. Thank you Alex.”

According to many Korean-speaking fight fans, Jung’s translator left out vital information while translating his post-fight speech, which included the acceptance that he may never be a UFC champion ... and even the possibility of retirement.

Emotional comments such as those are normal after tough defeats, but if it’s truly the end of the road for “Korean Zombie,” his status as an all-time fan favorite and entertaining fighter is solidified despite the fact that mandatory military duty and recurring njuries limited his presence inside the Octagon over the last 10 years.

If Jung does decide to return to action, a fight against Calvin Kattar sounds appealing. Kattar is coming off a huge win over Giga Chikadze and currently sits one spot behind Jung at No. 5. His preference to stand-and-bang is right up “Zombie’s” alley, but the flip side to that is it also opens him up to more potential punishment.

Then again, changing up the fighting style that brought him to where he is today is probably too tall of an order at this point in his career.

For complete UFC 273: “Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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