Alex Volkanovski understands there is history between himself and Chan Sung Jung.
Volkanovski was expecting to meet Max Holloway a third time this March. Plans went awry when “Blessed” was forced off the UFC 272 card due to an injury. Volkanovski will have to wait until April to put his UFC Featherweight Title on the line and he’ll do so against “The Korean Zombie.” The bout will take place at UFC 273.
Beef Brewing Between Alex Volkanovski & Korean Zombie
The beef between Alex Volkanovski and Jung doesn’t exactly reach Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal levels, but the two have exchanged words dating back to 2020. Appearing on The MMA Hour, Volkanovski let Ariel Helwani know that there is some one-upmanship going on.
“Of course, it is [personal]. There was a time where I guess he decided to play the heel or his manager or someone did anyway and he was calling us out and saying some things. So, yeah there is a bit of history there but you gotta remember he was fighting for that number one contender when Brian and him fought. So, it shows you that he was close to that title shot but didn’t go his way so that’s why I fought Brian. Now he’s went back and did what he had to do. Obviously, if Max didn’t pull out none of these guys would be getting the opportunity maybe, we don’t know but that’s what happened. I wanted to fight and the UFC wanted us to still fight so we all agreed that ‘Zombie’ was the guy to do it.”
Giga Chikadze’s Comeuppance
One man who attempted to ruffle the feathers of just about every featherweight has been Giga Chikadze. Chikadze claimed Volkanovski took the easy path by accepting “Korean Zombie” as his replacement opponent. Chikadze ended up getting battered by Calvin Kattar for five rounds and his trash talk is coming back to haunt him.
Volkanovski told Helwani that Chikadze had no respect for Kattar’s abilities.
“There’s a few guys that went a little disrespectful about it. Look, there’s gonna be people that are gonna trash talk and all that. It’s a part of the game, we understand that but there’s other sides to it. There is real disrespect not only to me but to Calvin Kattar as well. You’ve got a man, a top contender in front of you and you’re acting like you’re just gonna walk through this guy. Not only — let’s win first before you start carrying on. You’re probably gonna get injured, the fight’s not too far away. There’s so many things that come into play.”
Volkanovski went on to say that Chikadze doesn’t know how to take his lumps and he points to a recent reaction to an emoji from Jung as a prime example.
“Trying to say I’m taking the easy the way and then disrespecting ‘Zombie’ like he did, just disrespecting everybody. I don’t know the full situation with that cause I’ve talked to Giga and he’s not too bad of a guy. I said, ‘Mate, keep doing what you’re doing and it’s gonna happen.’ But then maybe he just thought it was the way to go about it. He started carrying on and a lot of people were like, ‘Man, pull up. You better win, this is gonna look real bad.’ I think it was a bad choice cause now he just looks like a bit of an idiot. And then he’s carrying on even to ‘Zombie.’ All he does, I think he did one of them emojis [facepalm]. Who wasn’t thinking that? The way you’re carrying on. If you’re gonna play that game, you gotta expect that criticism.”
Volkanovski has a target on his back as the 145-pound king. For now, his sole focus has to be on ‘Korean Zombie’ if he expects to keep the reign going. If his last bout with Brian Ortega is any indication, Jung will have a tall task grabbing the title from Volk.