An old injury briefly made an appearance during Chan Sung Jung’s victory over Dan Ige at UFC on ESPN 25 on Saturday night.
According to his coach, Eddie Cha, Jung had some issues with his shoulder during the five-round featherweight headliner. The injury ultimately didn’t affect the “Korean Zombie’s” performance, as he relied on his grappling to take a five-round verdict against Ige at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“Out of all of the UFC main events he’s had, this is the first one he’s had a decision. He’s kind of disappointed in it, but at the same time, he did pop his shoulder in and out,” Cha said on the ESPN+ post-fight show.
“(It’s the) same shoulder that he messed up in the Aldo fight,” Cha added. “He won’t ever say that kind of stuff, that’s why I kind of just put it in there. … In the second round when he went for the takedown and took his back, that’s when it kind of popped in and out a little bit. We were constantly telling him to raise his hands. Then, after the fight, he was like, ‘That’s why I couldn’t raise my hand.’ I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’”
Jung previously suffered a similar injury in a championship bout against Jose Aldo at UFC 163, when he separated his shoulder throwing a punch. Aldo finished Jung off shortly thereafter, winning via TKO at the 2:00 mark of Round 4.
In the aftermath of his latest triumph, Jung admitted that it can be more difficult to get the type of finishes that he’s known for at the highest level of the division.
“As I move up the ranks, it’s getting harder and harder to get the KO or a decision, and I apologize for that,” Jung said. “I’m happy with my performance, it’s just I’m realizing it’s getting harder and harder as I climb that ladder.”
A more intelligent game plan allowed Jung to use his grappling to ground Ige and take his opponent’s back on multiple occasions. It was a far cry from his memorable slugfest against Leonard Garcia under the World Extreme Cagefighting banner back in 2010.
“I was willing to brawl in there, but it was the coaches gameplan to mix it up and take him down,” Jung said. “After the first and second round, I realized I didn’t have to do that. The gameplan was working, so I continued to do so.”
On top of that, Jung received his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt after the victory, an achievement that appeared to please him nearly as much as his win over Ige.
“More than winning this fight, I love getting my black belt,” Jung said. “This means so much to me.”