Henry Cejudo wanted the chance to make history against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 273, but if it didn’t go to him, Chan Sung Jung getting the shot was a close second.
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. He said that I wouldn’t mind either of them getting the fight. 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 felt it would have been an excellent opportunity for Henry — time-wise — to obtain 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 will be an exciting matchup,” Cha said. “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. Henry has been great. After [Deiveson] Figueiredo’s fight, [he] and I talked about Zombie and said that he would let me know when he arrives. 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 knows that Cha and his pupil are busy with preparations, Jung will be ready to go when he enters the Octagon with the still-to-be-solved puzzle of Volkanovski.
“This is what he’s been working towards his whole life,” Cha said. He’s not only a second-timer, but has grown tremendously. He’s just super excited. He’s just so excited. We spoke [recently] about the game plan, how he should prepare for his trip, and there is still a lot to do. Volkanovski’s an unbelievable fighter, he’s grown so much, but he’s definitely beatable.
” I think Zombie is very good against smaller opponents. He’s beat everyone that is shorter than him, except for the Aldo fight. It’s a place he feels very comfortable in. We’re back at 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. It’s exciting, but it takes a lot .”