The Korean Zombie retires after leaving it all in the UFC cage

Chan Sung Jung, A.K.A The Korean Zombie, has announced an end to his historic UFC career.

By: Jack Wannan | 1 month ago
The Korean Zombie retires after leaving it all in the UFC cage
The Korean Zombie has announced his retirement from MMA. | IMAGO Jasmin Frank/USA Today Network

Prolific UFC featherweight Chan Sung Jung, best known as The Korean Zombie, has decided that the final chapter in his career as an MMA fighter has been written.

Zombie announced his retirement after getting stopped in the third round of a main event shootout on the feet against former UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway. Their fight headlined UFC’s return to the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

‘I’m done with fighting’

Zombie made it official in his post-fight interview that he was done fighting.

“You know what, I’m going to stop fighting,” the Korean Zombie said, through a translator just minutes after his loss. “I always aimed to be a champion when I first started this sport. I’m not here to be ranked third, fourth, or fifth. I tried my absolute best to prepare for Max Holloway. I really, really believed I could beat him, but I ended up failing. I don’t think I have the opportunity anymore, so I think I am going to stop fighting from now.”

The Korean Zombie’s final performance was an action-filled one. He traded strikes with Holloway through the first two rounds, getting his own shots through while consuming some from the slick contender. Zombie got rocked significantly in the second round, causing Holloway to take the fight to the ground and attempt a submission briefly.

The fight concluded in the opening moments of the third round after Holloway scored with an overhand right against an advancing Zombie. The shot cause Zombie to fall forward hard, with his head slamming onto the canvas. The dramatic knockdown was convincing for Holloway – who didn’t go to follow-up on the ground – and the referee, who stopped the fight almost immediately.

Follow up post on Instagram

Following the fight Jung took to Instagram and posted the following (computer translation):

“I haven’t achieved everything, but I’m pretty enough and I’m going to stop wanting more from my hair. I feel like I got a little more love than I did thank y’all. I will no longer live a life where I am evaluated and compared. I am lonely, regretful and scary. I don’t know what to do, but whatever I do, I will do my best and whatever I do with all my heart. In the meantime…. Thank you so much for loving Korean Pottery. I was really really happy fighting in the UFC. Thank you @danawhite and @ufc @seanshelby for giving me this life. And it was an honor @blessedmma to be my last fight partner. Let’s greet with a bright smile one day again😃”

The Korean Zombie’s lengthy, notable UFC career comes to a close

Zombie joined the UFC roster in 2011, coming over after previously competing in notable promotions like WEC, Sengoku and DEEP. His promotional run started with arguably his most prolific win, a rare twister submission victory over Leonard Garcia. He became the first-ever UFC fighter to secure the submission, and to date is only one of three names to do so – the third coincidentally occurred just two weeks ago.

After putting together a trio of wins, Zombie earned a title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 163 in 2013. That was an unsuccessful performance for Zombie, who was stopped in the fourth round with strikes.

Zombie was not seen in the UFC for many years after t hat loss, in-part due to the mandatory 18-21 months of military service required for any able-bodied men in South Korea. His return came in 2017, making quick work of Dennis Bermudez with a first-round finish.

While it wasn’t a highlight, an undoubtedly big moment in Zombie’s career came a year later, when he headlined UFC’s 25th anniversary show against Yair Rodriguez. While he was up on scorecards, Zombie suffered a knockout loss with just one second remaining in the fight, consuming a rare up-ward elbow that Rodriguez landed while leaving a striking exchange. The lucky shot was an example of how quickly leads and wins can disappear in the sport.

Zombie’s career ends near top of featherweight standings

Zombie had his second career UFC title shot last year, facing Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 273. The title fight came together after a meeting between Volkanovski and Holloway in the previous month fell through. The fight was a dominant performance for Volkanovski, who closed out the match in the fourth round via stoppage.

As he mentioned in his post-fight interview Saturday, Zombie was high-up in the UFC rankings in recent years. But he wasn’t champion, so the single-digit standings in the standings didn’t mean much to him.

Zombie’s lore-heavy career came to an end Saturday from Singapore. Visibly emotional and crying, Zombie laid his gloves out in the octagon and walked to the backstage area while the remaining fans in the venue shouted the lyrics to his entrance theme, “Zombie” by The Cranberries.

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About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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