According to a report from Fox Sports, following Jung’s victory at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., UFC President Dana White now apparently holds no reservations about the prospect of Jung challenging the winner of Jose Aldo’s UFC 149 defense against Erik Koch -- despite Hatsu Hioki being officially regarded as the second-best featherweight in the company.
As expected, Jung welcomes the prospect of the possible championship pairing.
“I think I definitely made a point about going into a title fight here,” said Jung at the post-fight press conference. “If the fight had gone to a decision, I don’t think it would have made the [same] statement. Previously, I thought I got lucky in a lot of my fights, but I was able to really showcase my abilities and prove what I could do out there.”
Round one saw Jung take the fight to the floor early. The Korean Top Team representative pounded away at Poirier with elbows that cut the American’s scalp. Though Poirier escaped to his feet to close out the round, Jung once again took control in the second frame, reversing a Poirier takedown attempt and landing in mount. Jung failed in an attempt at an armbar but transitioned smoothly into a triangle, where he held his half-defenseless opponent and rifled off elbow strikes.
To his credit, Poirier managed to survive the round and came on much stronger in the third frame, cracking the 25-year-old with a handful of straight lefts as Jung appeared to tire. However, according to Jung, it was not fatigue that caused him to lose a step in that third frame.
“I didn’t feel so much that I was getting tired. At some point in the second or third, I kind of hurt my knee. I had to back off my pace a little bit, but that is something I chose to do,” said Jung. “I thought that we were very similar. He’s a tough fighter. I knew that coming in. I want to show I was tougher, and I think I was able to do that in the fight.”
Jung got down to business almost immediately in the fourth frame, jacking the jaw of Poirier with a sharp uppercut and following up with a flying knee attempt. The stunned Louisianan tried for a takedown, but Jung saw it coming. The Korean stuffed the attempt and cinched a fight-ending brabo choke, putting Poirier to sleep at 1:07 of round four.
“The [brabo] choke is something I use a lot in practice. The things I prepared before this fight were the uppercut, the spinning back fist and the flying knee,” said Jung. “I think it was the beginning of the third round when I looked into Dustin’s eyes. I thought, ‘I can do this.’ I honestly didn’t know that the [brabo] choke would work, but it did.”
The victory marks Jung’s third consecutive win in the UFC after suffering back-to-back losses in World Extreme Cagefighting. After competing a total of five times on American soil, Jung says that the UFC would do well to hold more Asian events similar to the promotion’s Feb. 26 return to Japan.
“It’s really hard for Asian fighters to come over here and deal with the time difference and the [fatigue] and the [differences in] food. It’s hard to overcome that stuff,” said Jung. “If the UFC wants to appeal to a worldwide audience, they need to come to Asia and put on fights. There are lots of fighters better than me, and they need to experience [fighting in the UFC].”
When asked if his win constituted the biggest victory in Korean MMA history, Jung could only speak for himself. However, he did not understate the potential impact that may be generated in the wake of his victory over Poirier.
“For me, it was [the best moment of my career], but I’m waiting for the day I can become champion,” said Jung. “I heard the UFC may come to Shanghai in November. If they came to Korea, it would build a lot of excitement. I think we all want to see [me challenge for the title] in Korea.”