There is a part of everyone’s brain that lets them know when something really freaking hurts.
If you’re getting bludgeoned with a heavy piece of mining equipment or disemboweled with a wooden cooking spoon or listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest single, this tiny voice in your subconscious will surely scream, “Knock it off, that shit doesn’t feel very good”.
This is because humans feel pain. The Korean Zombie does not.
Who is this mythical being that shrugs off science and rationality like Charlie Sheen’s nose after snorting a bathtub full of cocaine? On August 3 he’s the guy taking on Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship. But once upon a time, he was just a regular boy like you or me.
Chan-Sung Jung was born in South Korea in 1987. As a kid, Jung had the build of a soggy French fry dripped in sulfuric acid, so he got his ass kicked up and down recess every day of his life. These were his darkest moment. But it was also when he realized he was immortal.
As prepubescent Asian boys were karate chopping him in the forehead, Jung noticed that instead of being rendered unconscious, he was merely gaining the libido of an inmate that just got let out of prison. He loved it. The punches, the kicks, the elbows and knees. It all felt so wonderful to Jung. He wanted more. So at the age of 18, Jung joined a kick-boxing gym and set in motion a fighting career that has been nothing short of impossible.
Since the time of his MMA debut in 2007 to now, Jung has been beaten up more than Jenna Jameson’s vagina. But unlike that walking body cavity, I’ll be damned if Jung’s even felt a thing.
You see, they call him the Korean Zombie, because it doesn’t matter if he’s getting wailed on by a well-trained martial arts master or shot in the face by an anti-aircraft missile, he continues to shuffle foreword with a lazy, glossy stare and an appetite for basal ganglia.
For someone who wades face-first into danger with blissful ignorance to things like “Parkinson’s disease” and “long-term memory loss”, he’s been remarkable successful as a cage fighter. He’s 13-3 and has accounted for some of MMA’s most memorable moments, like his never-before-seen twister submission in his UFC debut, which is such a ball-slapping insane technique it’s named after something that’s killed more hillbillies than fetal alcohol syndrome.
But really, the Korean Zombie’s entire career boils down to his 2010 WEC clash with equally off-kilter fighter Leonard Garcia. This bout was a magnum opus of head trauma in a career crammed full of it.
They billed this as a “fight”, but in reality it was just two slabs of meat colliding into each other until the judges decided which one looked more marinated. This was the sloppiest, craziest MMA bout since the days they let Tank Abbott roam around like a wild Kodiak in sweatpants and Velcro shoes. Jung and Garcia treated each other’s faces like they were starving to death and there were Snickers bars wedged behind their skulls. If Michael Bay ever makes a movie based off this fight he’s going to have to tone it down for realism.
Jung wound up losing a controversial split decision in what was almost universally considered the Fight of the Year. It proved, without a doubt, that where Jung’s mushy pink brain should be there is a molten pile of ash and a hellbent desire to soldier on.
Since 2011 the Zombie has been shambling through the UFC, building up a 3-0 record and accumulating more Fight of the Year awards in his endless conquest for brain matter. At the same time, Jose Aldo was blowing through the featherweight division like an evil little tornado of flying extremities. Yahoo! writer Kevin Iole once wrote that sitting ringside, he’s only ever felt the impact of the strikes of two fighters: 280-pound yeti Brock Lesnar and the 145-pound Aldo. This guy is powered by a nuclear reactor and the rage of his ancestors.
As good as the Zombie is at getting punched and kicked, Aldo might be ever better at punching and kicking. But if there’s one thing zombie movies have taught me, it’s that unless you’re a wicked hot foreign chick or Will Smith, you don’t f–ck with the undead. Aldo, although a vicious Brazilian tarantula, is neither.
So I say long live the zombie apocalypse. It’s way more fun than I thought it would be.
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