The Korean Zombie is back into the win column with a clinical unanimous decision victory against Dan Ige at UFC Vegas 29. Although the fight promised fireworks on paper, it was anything but.
Chan Sung Jung has a reputation of being a gritty brawler, who loves slugfests and bonuses. On Saturday night however, fans saw a very different side of the Korean powerhouse, who refused to engage in a phone booth fight with Ige, and controlled his opponent on the mat for the majority of the fight. The win was his first by decision since 2008.
The veteran fighter had Ige in trouble on the mat on a number of occasions, but he failed to capitalize on them. Nonetheless, it was a great night at the office for the Korean Zombie, but it was one to forget for Ige, who’ll be looking to bounce back as early as possible. Here’s who Chan Sung Jung and Dan Ige should fight next.
— UFC (@ufc) June 20, 2021
The Korean Zombie
Should Fight: Calvin Kattar
In the UFC Vegas 29 post-fight press conference, the Korean Zombie called out Max Holloway, who recently pulled out of his fight with Yair Rodriguez due to an injury. The UFC will most probably reschedule the two as soon as possible. This means the Korean Zombie will have to look elsewhere.
With Rodriguez and Holloway happening at a later date, and champion Alexander Volkanovski set to defend his title against Brian Ortega at UFC 266, Chan Sung Jung only has one option in the top five, and that’s Kattar, who hasn’t fought since getting battered by Holloway in January and is still taking time off to heal.
The Korean Zombie is also expected to take some time off after UFC Vegas 29 due to the shoulder injury he suffered against Ige. Ideally, both the Korean Zombie and Kattar should make their return to the Octagon by the end of the year, and that should set them up perfectly for an exciting showdown.
The fight also makes a lot of sense because although the Korean Zombie returned to winning ways, he doesn’t deserve a title shot just yet. An impressive win over Kattar will be a major step towards the gold for the veteran featherweight. Kattar also needs a big win to bounce back into title contention.
Both the Korean Zombie and Kattar are high-octane fighters, with incredible output, so their styles match up really well. If Kattar can successfully neutralize Chan Sung Jung’s grappling threat, we’ll be in for a treat.
— UFC (@ufc) June 20, 2021
Should Fight: Bryce Mitchell or Giga Chikadze
Although a loss in the main event of this magnitude is a bitter pill to swallow for Ige, he’s still very young and has time on his side. At 29 years old, he’s got quite a few years ahead of him.
Unlike the Korean Zombie, Ige has a lot of options. Arnold Allen and Josh Emmett are above him in the rankings, but the Brit will be looking at someone above him, whereas Emmett has been on the sidelines since his fight with Shane Burgos.
Ige is currently ranked number eight at featherweight, but when the UFC updates its rankings on Tuesday, he would fall further down the pecking order. From number ten onwards, the featherweight division is stacked with prospects. Ige is pretty much a prospect also, but he has a lot more Octagon experience than the others.
He should ideally face undefeated prospect Bryce Mitchell, as they have exchanged barbs in the past. Mitchell is 4-0 in the UFC, but he has an overall record of 14-0 and is a fan favorite. However, after seeing how easily the Korean Zombie was able to control Ige on the mat, Mitchell might be a bad stylistic matchup for the Hawaiian. But then again, Mitchell doesn’t have the same amount of experience as the Korean Zombie.
A more favorable matchup for him would be Giga Chikadze, who likes to stand and trade, just like Ige. The Georgian is coming off a highlight-reel TKO win over Cub Swanson and is looking to get back inside the Octagon as soon as possible. Chikadze has also offered to replace Holloway against Rodriguez, but the Mexican doesn’t seem too interested in a guy who’s ranked way below him.
All in all, both Ige vs Mitchell and Ige vs Chikadze will be fun fights.
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