‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung announces retirement: ‘I’m not here to be ranked third, fourth or fifth’

It was an emotional scene Saturday in Singapore as “The Korean Zombie” wept and laid his UFC gloves down in the center of the cage, marking the end of his MMA career.

A two-time UFC title challenger and pioneering South Korean athlete, Chan Sung Jung lost by third-round knockout against Max Holloway in the UFC Fight Night 225 main event. As he did in many of his career losses, Jung (17-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC) went out swinging.

“I’m going to stop fighting,” Jung said in the cage after the fight. “I always aimed to be a champion when I first started the sport. I’m not here to be ranked third, fourth or fifth. I tried my absolute best to prepare for Max Holloway. I really believed I could beat him. But I ended up failing, so I don’t think I have the opportunity anymore. So I think I’m going to stop fighting.”

Following the announcement, the arena blared “Zombie” by Irish rock band The Cranberries, which served as Jung’s long-time walkout song. The cameras followed an emotional Jung as he headed down the runway and into the locker room.

Jung, 36, exits the promotion after a dozen fights under its banner. Following appearances in Korea FC, DEEP, Sengoku, and It’s Showtime, Jung signed with WEC in 2010, just prior to the promotion’s merger with the UFC.

His WEC debut was one for the ages as he lost a close and controversial split decision to Leonard Garcia. The bout was considered one of the promotion’s all-time greatest.

After a knockout loss to George Roop, Jung was absorbed onto the UFC roster. He rematched Garcia and won by twister, the first in UFC history. He followed up the win with two more victories: a seven-second knockout of Mark Hominick, and a submission of Dustin Poirier in an all-out battle.

At UFC 163 in August 2013, Jung challenged for a UFC title for the first time. He lost to then-champion Jose Aldo by fourth-round TKO due to a shoulder dislocation.

Following his failed title bid, Jung partook in South Korea’s mandatory military service. His next fight wasn’t until February 2017, but he returned in style when he finished Dennis Bermudez in under three minutes.

The win set him up for a battle vs. Yair Rodriguez, a fight he was winning up until a rare spinning back elbow with one second left on the clock ended his night with a loss.

Over his next four fights, “Zombie” went 3-1 with wins over Renato Moicano, Frankie Edgar, and Dan Ige, as well as a loss to Brian Ortega. The successful stretch was enough to earn him a second crack at title gold.

At UFC 273 in April 2022, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski defeated Jung by fourth-round TKO. The appearance was his most recent prior to Saturday’s loss to Holloway.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 225.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie