No longer embarrassed by epic KO loss, Chan Sung Jung finds peace before UFC Greenville

The last time Chan Sung Jung competed, he engaged in a brawl for the ages against Yair Rodriguez.

With just seconds left in the five-round UFC Denver classic, Rodriguez knocked out Jung (14-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with a ducking back-elbow with one second left. The finish instantly made every highlight reel imaginable, etching Rodriguez’s strike in MMA folklore. “The Korean Zombie,” meanwhile, was left feeling “embarrassed” as he stated on Facebook shortly after the fight.

“Post-fight, it was devastating for me, but I came to accept it because everything went according to my plan,” Jung told MMA Junkie on Wednesday ahead of UFC on ESPN+ 12. “I did gut it out at the end. I pushed it until the end. For athletes, it’s either you win or you lose. It’s the outcome that really matters. The post-fight was a loss for me. Back then I did feel embarrassed, but after a while, it’s more like an accomplishment, I feel. I don’t feel embarrassed anymore.”

It did take Jung time to overcome the loss, but he understands why it happened. Jung attributes much of the loss to two factors – the first being the change of opponent.

“When my opponent changed from Frankie (Edgar) to Yair, I had to really think it out,” Jung said. “For a couple of months, I had been preparing for an opponent who was quite shorter in height, who was a wrestler, who was orthodox. But then it all changed completely to a taller height and southpaw and a striker.”

The other reason Jung believes he lost the bout was his aggression in the final seconds. Both men seemingly fed off the crowd’s energy, trading in a wild exchange. Moments later, Jung was face down on the canvas.

“I was just going to go for (the finish) because it’s my own calling to overcome each and every opponent, so everything else during the fight went according to my plan,” Jung said. “However, except for the last second or so.”

Although he wasn’t victorious, Jung solidified the respect of UFC president Dana White. As a result, both White and matchmaker Sean Shelby promised Jung the opponent of his choosing in his next bout.

“Despite the fact that I lost my previous fight against Yair, my initial reaction to that was appreciation towards Sean and Dana,” Jung said. “Because my opponent changed from Frankie to Yair, Sean and Dana both promised to match me with whichever opponent I wanted. Renato Moicano was one of the people in rankings I wanted to face. I have nothing but appreciation towards them for keeping the promise.”

On Saturday night, Jung squares off with fellow contender Moicano (13-2-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 12.

Against Moicano, “The Korean Zombie” says to expect the same fighting style that has turned him into a fan favorite.

“For all of my fights, I predict that I’ll go the distance, but all of my fights have ended before completing the last round,” Jung said. “I think the fans can expect the fight to finish before the final bell rings. I’ve prepared a lot for everything in Moicano’s style if he runs for it or charges forward. It all depends on how Moicano plays it out.”

UFC on ESPN+ 12 takes place Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. The event streams on ESPN+.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 12, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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