Korean Zombie Reveals Brain Damage Played a Big Role in His Decision to Retire from MMA

TKZ spoke about his final fight at UFC Singapore and why he ultimately decided to call it a career in that moment

Korean Zombie
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, shed some light on why he decided to walk away from mixed martial arts following his third-round knockout loss last month.

TKZ stepped inside the Octagon for the last time at UFC Singapore, sharing the cage with one of the few men he had yet to mix it up with in the featherweight division, former world champion Max Holloway. Unfortunately, things didn’t go Zombie’s way as the South Korean suffered a vicious KO just seconds into the third round. Following the contest, he announced his official retirement from the sport in what was an incredibly emotional scene for fight fans and peers of the two-time title challenger. 

With a few weeks between him and his combat sports swan song, Korean Zombie joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to discuss his illustrious career and why he decided to hang up his gloves for good. 

“The funny thing about this fight is, I remember every single second from the moment I got dropped,” Zombie said through a translator whilst referencing his clash with Max Holloway. “Every single punch I threw, every punch that hit me. In the second round, I got dropped. I saw the punch coming. I thought I dodged it, but I didn’t. When I was dropped, I was like, ‘What hit me?’ In the first round, I was wobbled a little bit and in the third round, everybody saw I got knocked out. 

“After experiencing these moments, I felt that I don’t have that chin anymore and I’ve been having brain damage over the years. I don’t have that chin anymore. Not going to say any names, but there are fighters who, when they were young, used to have a really good chin, but as they got older, they got brain damage and their chin gets weaker, they get frequently dropped. 

“If the fighter fails to acknowledge the fact that they got old and their chin got weaker, the end isn’t as lovely. I didn’t want to become that fighter so I decided to retire in that moment.”

Though Zombie never managed to capture gold in the UFC, he certainly made his mark over his 12-year tenure with the promotion. Making his Octagon debut in 2011, TKZ immediately etched his name in the history books by becoming the first fighter to pull off a twister submission. He went on to score wins over some massive names in the fight game, including Dustin Poirier, Frankie Edgar, and Dan Ige.

He twice fought for the UFC featherweight title, challenging division GOAT Jose Aldo and, most recently, reigning 145-pound king Alexander Volkanovski. 

Published on September 6, 2023 at 8:41 pm
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