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Frankie Edgar still gunning for bantamweight title after facing ‘The Korean Zombie’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Frankie Edgar still has aspirations to move to bantamweight in 2020, but he took a slight detour on his way to 135 pounds with a short notice fight against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

On Saturday in Busan, South Korea, Edgar will step into enemy territory to settle some unfinished business with Jung after they were originally scheduled to meet last year.

Unfortunately, the New Jersey native was forced to drop out of that fight due to injury and he never got the chance to face “The Korean Zombie.” That’s one of the reasons he jumped at the opportunity to take the fight on short notice.

If there was another compelling reason to face Jung in a main event fight in his native South Korea it’s because Edgar absolutely loves the matchup.

Throughout his career, “The Korean Zombie” has built a reputation as one of the most action-packed fighters in the sport, which has also made him an incredibly popular athlete with fans. That all adds up to the exact kind of fight Edgar wants at this stage of his career.

“The guy comes forward. He hits hard. Obviously he’s got a good submission game. He’s called the “Zombie,” Edgar said about his opponent when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I’m expecting this dude to come at me with everything that he has.

“He’s in his home country and I’m sure he wants to put on a great performance. I’m going to have my hands full but that’s why I do this. I fight to fight the best guys and I think “Zombie” is one of them.”

While Edgar is still ranked in the top five at featherweight and a win over “The Korean Zombie” would obviously put him in an advantageous position in the division - especially now with a new champion in place in Alexander Volkanovski - he’s still planning on making the move down to 135 pounds for his next fight.

Initially, Edgar was matched up with Cory Sandhagen in a bantamweight bout in January before he jumped into the fight with Jung this weekend.

His longterm plans haven’t changed because Edgar is determined to add a second UFC title to his resume and he truly believes that will happen at 135 pounds.

“I still planning on making the move down to 135,” Edgar said. “I want to work my way towards the title. I still have those aspirations.

“I feel like if you’re in this sport and you’re not trying to be the best then maybe you shouldn’t be in the sport. I still want to be the best.”

When Edgar finally does make his bantamweight debut, he’s going to join a crowded list of fighters all looking for the chance to face current champion Henry Cejudo.

Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo just made his 135-pound debut this past weekend with contenders like Sandhagen, Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling all lining up in hopes of landing the next title shot.

Edgar is anxious to join them but first things first, he has some business to handle in South Korea.

Bantamweight seems to be the new hotbed right now. It’s exciting,” Edgar said. “I’ve been in the UFC for 13 years, and it’s nice to still get excited about potential opponents.”