08 Nov - 
Chan Sung Jung knew he'd fight Yair Rodriguez, wants to 'catch' Max Holloway

DENVER – He didn’t know it would happen at UFC Fight Night 139, but Chan Sung Jung had a feeling he’d eventually cross paths with Yair Rodriguez inside the octagon.

After original headliner Frankie Edgar fell off the card due to injury, Rodriguez (10-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) agreed to fight Jung (14-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) on short notice in Saturday’s featherweight main event, which takes place at Pepsi Center in Denver and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Jung’s matchup against Rodriguez will mark just his second UFC fight since August 2013. He’s been forced to watch the 145-pound division evolve in his absence, but has kept attentive to what’s been going on. “Pantera” has been on his radar, and that made the switch slightly easier.

“Yair has his own style,” Jung told reporters, including MMAjunkie, through an interpreter at UFC Fight Night 139 open workouts. “He stands out. Because he’s in the same featherweight division I knew one day I would have to face him. … It’s just a change in opponent. To be honest it doesn’t really affect me that much as a fighter. Fighter’s fight, that’s what we do.”

Jung said that ideally he would have got a new opponent with similar traits to Edgar, but instead it went a different direction with Rodriguez. The change in opponent is just another bump in the road, though, and it’s little in comparison to the time off he’d had due to injuries and mandatory military service in his native South Korea.

All of the adversity might take its toll on some fighters, but Jung has kept strong through it all, he said.

“I believe every fighter, they go through some sort of a phase,” Jung said. “It was tough for me at first, but I’m coming back stronger, and if that’s going to drag me down, how am I able to fight?”

Healthy and with all the obstacles hopefully behind him, Jung hopes he’s in a position to start a run back up the featherweight ladder. “The Korean Zombie” once challenged for UFC gold, and with current champ Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) currently ruling the division, he has his sights set on fighting for the belt once again.

“I think Max will stay as the champion for quite a long time,” Jung said. “So, I’m going to go up there and catch him.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 139, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.