The UFC featherweight division is deeper than it has ever been before, yet the past two title shots have gone to glorified lightweights. According to Chan Sung Jung, who once held the key to contendership in the palm of his hand before a shoulder injury sidelined him for much of the past year, the UFC's recent matchmaking just doesn't make much sense.
"First off, I feel kind of like (Anthony) Pettis cut in line," Jung said in an interview with BJPenn.com.
"I disagree with the choice. It's not as though I feel like I should be the one fighting (Jose) Aldo, either. It's just that Pettis hasn't really earned a place in the division yet. I think that (Ricardo) Lamas, myself or even some other guys should've gotten the title shot before Pettis."
Jung, a fan-favorite affectionately referred to as "The Korean Zombie," now meets Lamas on July 6, 2013 at UFC 162. The winner of the bout will likely be dubbed the division's No. 1 contender, which would mark the first time since early-2012 that a UFC featherweight title challenger has an actual, pre-existing history with the weight class.
Even now, Jung remains perplexed by the Pettis booking, although former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar's gifted title shot against Aldo is a bit more understandable.
"That situation was a little different," Jung explained. "Originally, Edgar wasn't given an immediate title shot at featherweight. He was supposed to have a fight before Aldo, but Koch got injured. Mendes had just lost to Aldo, there weren't a lot of choices at that point, so Edgar wasn't a bad choice in those circumstances."
It's been frustrating for Jung to watch all of this transpire from the sidelines without being able to stake a claim for himself. His shoulder injury resulted in a roller-coaster road to recovery, and while he "wouldn't say it's perfect," Jung is finally back to training without any issues.
Most surprisingly, though, Jung apparently fought his last fight -- 2012's Fight of the Year against Dustin Poirier -- with a torn rotator cuff. The injury was so bad, Jung "couldn't hit mitts at all for the last month of training," which makes his electric fourth-round victory over Poirier that much more impressive.
But now the Zombie is back, and even though he dropped one spot on the division's ladder, he's still in prime position to attain the goal that has always been out of reach. And to that, despite any animosity held towards Pettis, Jung has no doubts who he'd prefer to fight with the UFC title on the line.
"Aldo has been the champ since the WEC days," Jung finished. "He's seen as unbeatable, so for several different reasons, it would mean more to me to fight, and beat, Jose Aldo."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Jung talks Pettis. UFC featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung told BJPenn.com that Anthony Pettis "cut in line" to fight Jose Aldo, and that Pettis "hasn't really earned a place in the division yet."
MMA legalized. Score one for sanity. In a significant day for the sport, bills passed to regulate mixed martial arts in Connecticut and officially legalize prize fighting in all Canadian provinces. The last hurdle remaining? New York.
Kongo update. According to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo didn't ink a new deal with Bellator, despite conflicting reports published on Tuesday. "Great fighter, fun personality, very good fighter to watch, I've been watching him fight for years, but he has not signed with Bellator," Rebney said.
Cerrone vs. dos Anjos. A lightweight bout between top-10 contenders Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos is slated for the co-main event of UFC on FOX Sports 1 #2.
Jackson on Bellator. New Bellator signee Quinton "Rampage" Jackson spoke at length about a myriad of topics, including fighting at heavyweight and potentially forming a tag-team partnership with Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.
What's it like to watch a piece of history? Surprisingly similar to watching C-SPAN, it turns out.
Georges St-Pierre, workin' on those acting chops.
It's a little bizarre to think of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as the guy in his early twenties who just decided to try his hand at this MMA thing. But that's exactly what "Big Nog" was back in 1999. Check out his second professional fight at WEF 7: Stomp in the Swamp -- poor Nate Schroeder didn't stand a chance.
Regardless of whether or not they'll admit it, everyone secretly loves when other sports devolve into all-out brawls. And this perfect Rugby League one-two, met with delight by 80,000 screaming fans, is no exception.
Props to @jamescairns2 for the find.
Okay, Chael Sonnen dropping a Space Ghost reference? Instant way to make it into the Morning Report.
Connecticut is now the 49th state to legalize MMA!!!— Dana White (@danawhite) June 5, 2013
Connecticut becomes the 49th State to legalize MMA ....NY is the last holdout and we'll get there too!— Marc Ratner UFC (@MarcRatnerUFC) June 5, 2013
Also today MMA is now legal throughout all Provinces in Canada great day for MMA— Marc Ratner UFC (@MarcRatnerUFC) June 5, 2013
Hey I have a question for everyone, who looks stupid on this map? twitter.com/danawhite/stat…— Dana White (@danawhite) June 6, 2013
BACK TO THE GRIND
Thanks everyone for the well wishes. Op went well, will make a FULL recovery and be ready to fight soon,hopefully in Manchester next!!— michael (@bisping) June 5, 2013
NO COMPLAINTS ALLOWED
@efour0oneh u r an idiot— Dana White (@danawhite) June 5, 2013
@chubfishswe jones toe is fucked up and can't fight and quit being a dick. That card is SICK!!!— Dana White (@danawhite) June 5, 2013
@johngriffin456 best fucking free card EVER!!! So quit ur bitchin— Dana White (@danawhite) June 5, 2013
TIME FOR A RANT
Here's a big FUCK YOU to all you cheap ass MMA sponsors out there, kill yourselves, we bust our asses in that cage for PENNIES, fuck you.— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
You fucking clothing companies,promoters & managers get rich off of OUR pain and suffering ya'll and have the nerve to nickel & dime us?— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
In 2008 Sprawl paid me like $1200 (maybe more, I forget) to wear their shorts on a NON-televised fight, now they offer $500? JOKE!— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
All of you dumb fuck fighters need to start telling these companies to FUCK OFF! Don't accept their low ball offers, make them pay us fair!— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
I'll wear a BLANK shirt, a BLANK hat and BLANK shorts-no they won't be blank, they'll say, "MMA SPONSORS ARE CHEAP FUCKS" on them all!— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
EVERYONE in MMA is making money EXCEPT the fucking fighters! I bet Arianny Celeste makes more fucking money holding up a fucking ring card!— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
And ALL of you MMA fighters who are seeing my fucking posts and AREN'T RT'ing them have no fucking balls! You know I speak the truth.— War Machine (@WarMachine170) June 6, 2013
Props to @MMAPod for the find.
MESSAGES FOR B.J.
With all respect if BJ Penn needs an opponent when he returns I am more than will. Would be an honor to fight him. @ufc— Evan Dunham (@evandunham155) June 5, 2013
Announced yesterday (Wednesday, June 5, 2013):
- UFC 163: Bristol Marunde (12-8) vs. Viscardi Andrade (13-5)
- UFC on FS1: Ramsey Nijem (7-3) vs. James Vick (4-0)
- UFC on FS1 #2: Donald Cerrone (20-5) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (19-6) booked for co-main event
- UFC on FS1 #2: Robert Whittaker (11-2) vs. Court McGee (14-3)
- UFC on FS1 #2: James Head (9-3) vs. Bobby Voelker (24-9)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is another forecasting edition, courtesy of dpk875: Prospects to Watch This Weekend
C3 Fights (Team Takedown Invitational) - 7 Jun - First Council Casino, Newkirk, OK
Jared Rosholt (6-1) vs. Richard White
This is a stay busy fight for Rosholt. White has been in with some good fighters, but lost to all of them. He has also lost 9 of his last 10 and anything short of a 1st round Sub or TKO would be disappointing for one of the best prospects in the sport.
Chris Feist (6-0) vs. Kalvin Hackney
Feist is a Team Takedown fighter, who wrestled at Portland State while in College and has since compiled a 6-0 record in MMA. Hackney went 0-2 in Bellator, but he has been up to the next level of show, so a good performance could put Feist on the Bellator and UFC radars.
Jamal Parks (1-0) vs. Josh McCracken
Parks is another Oklahoma St. wrestler, and Team Takedown member on this C3 card. He made his pro debut just over a month ago in late April, and scored a 2nd round TKO. Parks was a D1 All American, and Big 12 Champion during his time in college, and will be a guy to keep your eye on moving forward.
Tyler Shinn (4-1) vs. Jeremy Castillo
Shinn is another Oklahoma St. Wrestler who has made the jump to MMA, but he isn't a member of Team Takedown like many of the other recent OSU grads. Shinn qualified for the NCAA D1 Wrestling tourney his Redshirt Freshman, and Sophomore years at Oklahoma St. He then saw his final two year cut short by injury, and the emergence of Jordan Oliver. A pro since 2011, he is one fight removed from his only professional loss, and this fight appears to be a stay busy fight. Jeremy Castillo will be making his Pro-debut.
KSW 23 - 8 Jun - Gdansk, Poland
Mamed Khalidov is on this card, but he is past the point of prospect.
Michal Materla (18-3) vs. Kendall Grove
Materia will try to extend his winning streak to 7 in a row, and make Grove the 4th consecutive UFC veteran he has defeated. Materia hasn't lost since 2007, but has picked up his level of activity since 2011. He already has another fight scheduled for July 6th, if he can get past Grove and not sustain significant damage. Grove is on a two fight losing streak, but should be a good test for Materla.
Mateusz Piskorz (8-0) vs. Luiz Ricardo Simon
Piskorz is a 21 year old Polish Striker, who has stayed very busy over the last year. This will be his 8th fight since May 2012. He has crisp striking, but doesn't seem to have the plus power to get his opponents out of the fight. Piskorz's strength of schedule has been soft to this point, and Simon at 5-2 will be the first fighter that Piskorz has faced with more than 3 pro fights under their belt going into the fight.
Mateusz Zawadzki (9-1) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (3-0)
Winner of this fight will emerge as one of the better Euro fighters to follow. Zawadzki is 23 years old, and unbeaten since his pro debut. He likes to use his low and high kicks, so it will be interesting to see if Gamrot decides to take this to the ground and use his well rounded game.
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