Korean Zombie reveals brain damage behind early retirement – still open to boxing

Chan Sung Jung (popularly known as The Korean Zombie) bid adieu to a storied mixed martial arts career following a third-round knockout by Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 225. The UFC featherweight title contender recently discussed his decision to put up his gloves.

In an exclusive interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Jung delves into the reasoning behind his decision to hang up his gloves.

He said: “So, the funny thing about this fight is I remember every single second of the fight from the moment I got dropped to every single punch I threw to every single punch that hit me. In the second round, when I got dropped, I saw the punch coming. I thought I dodged it, but I was dropped.”

The first round witnessed him being momentarily shaken. By the third, it was evident to all that he had been knocked out.

“I was like, ‘what hit me?’ In the first round, I was wobbled a little bit. In the third round, everybody saw I got knocked out. After experiencing these moments, I felt that I don’t have that chin anymore.”

Jung’s translator continued: “I’ve been having brain damage over the years so I don’t have that chin anymore. I’m not going to say any names, but there are fighters who when they were young they had a really good chin but as they get older they get brain damage and their chin gets weaker and they get frequently dropped, but then if the fighter fails to acknowledge the fact that they got old and their chin got weaker, the end isn’t as lovely. I didn’t want to become that fighter so I decided to retire at that moment.”

In his final bout, Jung found himself knocked down twice and outmatched in strikes by Max Holloway. The Singapore crowd bid TKZ a memorable farewell, celebrating his iconic career.

In his press conference after the match, Max Holloway paid tribute to his opponent. He said: “Legend, the dude’s a Zombie. I hit him in the second, I thought I had him out he kept coming back and I was like, ‘oh my gosh what’s going on’, and next thing I know he’s in the third round.”

“And then I hit him with that in the third round and I got him but he got up pretty fast too after that… He never ever wanted to die on his shield he’ll always die on his sword and that’s why people love The Korean Zombie. That’s why I love him.”

Chan Sung Jung concludes his MMA journey with a record of 17 wins and 8 losses. He holds the distinction of the fastest finish in featherweight history and stands as the first combatant to secure a submission via twister in the UFC.