Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
After an undisclosed injury to Max Holloway, “The Korean Zombie” is slated to get his chance to face Volkanovski for the featherweight title on April 9 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Despite Cejudo’s public plea for the opportunity to become a champion in three different division’s, Fight Ready striking coach Eddie Cha — who is also the head coach of Jung — says that “Triple C” has been nothing but a team player when it comes to the UFC’s decision to go with Jung.
“Henry called me right away and said congratulations to Zombie for getting the fight,” Cha told MMA Fighting. “I told him I would’ve been happy with either getting it. It’s not up to us anyway, it’s not like we have a choice in the matter, it’s whoever the UFC chooses to go with.
“But I thought it would’ve been a great opportunity — just time-frame wise — for Henry to get it. I’ve always wanted to see him make history. It could’ve been something special to see him go up and try to be a three-time champion. But at the same time, Zombie was next in line if you look at everybody who is in that top five. I think he definitely deserves it.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting matchup,” Cha continued. “Zombie’s not in a boring fight, Volkanovski’s fights have been super exciting, [he] just had a Fight of the Year with Ortega. But Henry’s been great. He’s been super supportive, and after [Deiveson] Figueiredo’s fight, we talked about Zombie’s fight and [he] said, ‘Let me know when he gets here. I’ll definitely help in any way I can, I’ve done a lot of scouting on [Volkanovski],’ so he will be involved in Zombie’s camp as well.”
It will be 3,171 days between title fights for Jung, who challenged Jose Aldo for the featherweight title in August 2013 at UFC 163, where he was stopped via TKO in the fourth round. Since then, the 34-year-old has won four of his past six, including finishes of Frankie Edgar, Renato Moicano, and Dennis Bermudez, along with a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige in the main event of UFC Vegas 29 this past June.
While Cha understands that he and his pupil have their hands full in terms of preparation, Jung is going to be more than ready when he steps inside the octagon with the yet-to-be-solved puzzle that is Volkanovski.
“This is what he’s been working towards his whole life,” Cha said. “This is his second time around, obviously, but he’s grown leaps and bounds. He’s just super excited. We just spoke [recently] talking about what the game plan might be, what he needs to prep for before he gets out here, and we’ve got a lot of work to do. Volkanovski’s an unbelievable fighter, he’s grown so much, but he’s definitely beatable.
“I think Zombie does really well against shorter opponents. Besides the Aldo fight, I think he’s beat everybody that’s been shorter than him. He just feels super comfortable there. So, back to the drawing board. This will be the third world title fight here [since November] at Fight Ready, it’s just been back-to-back-to-back. As exciting as it is, it’s a lot of work.”