In addition to being duped that Chan Sung Jung was merely a primitive brawler after his "Fight of the Decade" with Leonard Garcia at WEC 48, many fans abandoned ship when he lost to George Roop in his next appearance. After all, he earned the nickname "The Korean Zombie" by sloshing through home-run punches like they were an annoying distraction, and though he'd never been knocked out in his entire life, that's exactly what Roop did with a slicing high-kick at WEC 51.
Jung and his team went back to the drawing board with a focus on balance: taming his beast-like aggression to a more manageable level, but not so much as to quench his ferocity entirely; or in their words, create "The Korean Zombie 2.0". Now, after lacing up Leonard Garcia with the first Twister in Octagon history and pocketing a cool $55,000 with "Submission of the Night" honors, Chan Sung Jung's stock has once again skyrocketed in the MMA market.
In the interview below, the Korean Top Team product discusses hitting the Twister, his thoughts on Eddie Bravo's video analysis of the submission, how training with Urijah Faber's camp played a role in accepting the Garcia rematch on short notice, his interest in training at AKA or Jackson's MMA, and how he intends to prove he's far from a "one-hit wonder".
DW: Explain how you feel after your dramatic win over Leonard Garcia?
CSJ: Obviously, I feel great. It's my first win in a while, so it's that much sweeter. After being stressed out about not winning for the past year, it's a relief to have that burden off my shoulders.
DW: Did the fact that you were training with Urijah Faber influence your decision to accept the fight on short notice?
CSJ: Yeah, it definitely did play a factor. Not having to deal with jet lag was a big consideration in taking the fight. Normally, we go to the U.S. at least ten days beforehand to get acclimated, and jet lag is a large part of why we do that. So, being in Sacramento and having been training hard there really did make the decision easier.
DW: How did training with Team Alpha Male improve your game and/or confidence?
Since they have so many of the top lighter weight fighters in the world, it's obviously going to help to be working with guys like that on a daily basis. Especially sparring with them -- all of those great wrestlers -- made me feel that much more confident going into the fight.
DW: How much time will you be spending here in the states versus in Korea with KTT?
CSJ: I'll still be living and training full time in Korea, but I plan to do some training in the U.S. I'll be going back to Team Alpha Male to train again at some point, and possibly check out some other gyms as well. But, reports of me changing camps altogether are inaccurate. My home base is still Korean Top Team.
DW: Are there any other stateside teams you'd like to train with?
CSJ: I really had a great experience at Team Alpha Male. Urijah and the all of the guys were really great. So, I'll definitely be going back there again. I'd be interested in training at Jackson's MMA as well. They seem to have a magic touch, as we've seen with so many of the great MMA fighters out there right now. Also, AKA is another team that I'd be interested in checking. Any other top teams, particularly ones that have top lighter weights, would be options as well.
DW: The world finally got to see how technical your ground game is. Was taking it to the ground a specific strategy for you in this fight?
CSJ: Not specifically, no. If the fight stayed standing, that would have been fine, too. But, I didn't have it set in my mind either way. If it stayed standing, that would have been fine. It went to the ground, which worked out well, too. Whereas before, I might have really wanted to keep things standing, with this fight I was really open to going either way.
DW: You've expressed an interest to train with Eddie Bravo in two of our past interviews. Were you able to do that yet?
CSJ: Not yet. If the chance arises, I'd love to work with him. I just saw a video breakdown that he did a couple days ago of the Twister and at the end he thanked me for giving him props for the move and invited me to come train with him, which I appreciate. We tried to hook up with him before in LA, but the timing didn't work out. I'm sure sooner or later, we'll get together. I'm definitely looking forward to it! It's really cool that he's getting more recognition because I used the Twister in a fight.
DW: Did you really learn the Twister from watching videos? What attracted you to Eddie Bravo's techniques?
CSJ: Yes, I really learned it from YouTube. I like his techniques because they're different and they're fun to do. Also, the Twister looks cool, too. Eddie's D'Arce choke is another great one. He's got an open mind about applying new moves, or maybe moves that have been around in amateur wrestling, or catch, to MMA situations. I like that not everyone is out there doing those moves.
DW: Was there a big difference between fighting for the WEC vs. UFC?
CSJ: Well, the size is a big difference... The scale of things. Starting from the size of the cage. The Octagon is bigger, obviously. The UFC has bigger events and more fans, but in the end, it's all just fighting.
DW: Is there anyone you'd prefer to fight in the future, or any ideas of who the UFC might align you with next?
CSJ: I haven't really thought about who I want to fight next. I know I'd like to fight someone good. I want to be moving my way up the ladder in the FW division. I think a lot of people still look at me like a one-hit-wonder, or just an entertainer fighter, but I'd like to show people that I can be a force in the division as well. I'm constantly working on improving my game and developing as a fighter. I think that's an important realization that fighter's have to make in modern MMA. The sport is constantly evolving and we as fighters have to keep getting better, or we'll be left behind. So, as a fighter, I'm always looking for ways to improve the weak points of my game as well as build upon what I'm already doing well.
DW: You have the floor for any closing comments.
CSJ: I think some fans out there may have been disappointed at the pace of the fight. Maybe some people thought it was too slow, or there wasn't enough striking. I always want to put on a good show for the fans and fight the best, most exciting fight that I can. So, in the future, I hope to put on even better shows for everyone! And thanks again to Dallas and TheGarv.com for their support.