As comeback fights go, the return of Chan Sung Jung was one that certainly captured the imagination. The Korean Zombie hadn’t graced the octagon since his TKO defeat to Jose Aldo back in August 2013. As reasons go for such a substantial ‘break’, national service in the South Korean army wouldn’t be a number one contender.
As we’ve recently seen with BJ Penn and to a lesser extent, Chael Sonnen, coming back at such a high standard after a long period out of the game, doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a favourable outcome. In the case of Jung though, time was an irrelevant factor. Granted his time away from competitive MMA was due to completely different circumstances to the aforementioned Penn and Sonnen, but Jung didn’t show any major signs of rustiness on Saturday night.
In Dennis Bermudez, Jung was coming up against the #9 ranked featherweight in the division. In the early exchanges in Houston, Bermudez was the one throwing the heat and had Jung wobbling with a plum overhand right. Jung recovered well before unleashing a devastating uppercut to KO Bermudez at 2:39 of the first round. Right up until the KO, Bermudez was clearly the aggressor and more confident fighter but the unpredictable nature of MMA yet again showed that all it takes is one punch, knee, kick to call a halt to proceedings.
For Jung, who picked up a POTN bonus, his return to the octagon couldn’t have worked out much better but thoughts will now be turning to his next opponent.
An all Korean clash with Dooho Choi would be an intriguing match-up but would it make more sense for Jung to face a higher ranked fighter than The Korean Superboy, especially seeing as Bermudez is ranked higher than Choi? Not necessarily. Ultimately, the rankings are meaningless when it comes down to it but for me a clash with someone like the unpredictable Yair Rodríguez or Cub Swanson, who was last in action in that colossus encounter with Choi, would be a stern test for Jung, one in which I’m sure he would relish.