There were a lot of fighters lining up to fight Alexander Volkanovski after Max Holloway fell out of their trilogy fight with an undisclosed injury. Henry Cejudo, Giga Chikadze, and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung to name just a few.
Jung’s the man that ended up getting the call, but that didn’t stop some media from pushing UFC president Dana White on Chikadze, who ended up losing a tough battle against Calvin Kattar on Saturday’s UFC Vegas 46 card (watch the highlights here).
“I was doing media this week and I don’t remember who I was talking to, but they were like ‘What about Giga,’” White said at the post-fight press conference. “Giga didn’t even fight yet! So we’re looking to put together these fights and they’re like ‘Oh the Korean Zombie got the fight, GIga should have got the fight.’ Giga’s got a fight. Tonight.”
Some had even suggested that Giga might run through Kattar so fast he could still step in to face Volkanovski. That obviously didn’t play out.
“In this sport, you never know,” White said. “You think you know but you don’t. None of us know. It’s what makes this sport so great, you never know what’s going to happen with these guys. And we gotta lock in dates for fights and Zombie is absolutely positively the guy that should have gotten to fight, so it works out the way that it should have worked out.”
But as we covered last week, isn’t Chan Sung Jung recovering from a SLAP tear in his shoulder? According to his manager Jason House, the sidelining injury “TKZ” discussed in a November 26th video is fully healed now.
“The shoulder is good,” House said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “We were planning on fighting in late April or early May, which was kind of what I was suggesting to the UFC beforehand. This opportunity came up and we’re ready to go. It’s just on a timeline a little earlier. Being at Fight Ready, being in Arizona, they have a great camp there, great facilities and amenities. We’ll be fully ready to go April 9.”
Of course that’s what you’d expect a fighter and his management to say coming into a career defining title fight. And later in the interview, House kinda admitted there was no such thing as saying ‘No’ to a shot at the belt.
“Before this had happened, ‘KZ’ would always tell me, ‘You don’t turn down title shots. When they call you Jason, and I’m not available, say yes.’ He’s always been very adamant about that.”
That’s all well and good until Jung’s shoulder explodes five minutes into his fight against Volkanovski. Then again, it exploded in the second round of his five round fight against Dan Ige and that didn’t stop the ol “Korean Zombie” from going the distance and winning that fight.
UFC 273 goes down April 9th from Jacksonville, Florida and will also feature a UFC bantamweight unification bout between champ Aljamain Sterling and interim champ Petr Yan.