Featherweights “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and Brian Ortega exchanged a lot of bad words as they waited for a chance to fight each other.
Bad blood eventually boiled over to involve Jung’s friend, hip-hop artist Jay Park, who was slapped by Ortega at a UFC event back in March. Apologies were eventually issued and accepted, but that didn’t dissipate the long-simmering feud.
Just days away from finally settling his beef in the octagon, “The Korean Zombie” said he’s won’t allow himself to be consumed with ill feelings toward Ortega. That will serve no purpose in the fight.
“First of all, I don’t have anything personal toward Brian Ortega,” Jung said during the UFC Fight Island 6 media day on Wednesday. “I’m just excited to meet a great [fighter] who is ranked second, and I’m excited for this fight. I’ve been prepared for it for a long time.
“Having any animosity or anything else toward Brian isn’t going to help me in the cage. So I’m putting that aside. I’m treating him as Brian Ortega the fighter, as opposed to Brian Ortega the individual.”
As Jung pursues a title fight in 2021, he can’t allow anything get in the way of the job at hand.
“I don’t like what he did as an individual, but I can’t take that into the cage,” Jung said. “It’s not going to help me whatsoever. So we already addressed that at the beginning of camp. I’ve done a great job staying focused of what I need to accomplish.
“It’s not for Jay. It’s not for anything else. It’s complete business, and I’m just going to go in there and do my job.
A potential showdown between Jung and Ortega has been in the works for more than one, but injuries and a global pandemic prevented them from fighting. They were scheduled to meet this past December, but a knee injury took Ortega out of the running. Jung went on to knock out Frankie Edgar in the first round.
After his most recent win, Jung underwent eye surgery. He hasn’t fought in 10 months. Ortega, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since December 2018, when he lost a bid to become featherweight champion in a TKO loss to Max Holloway.
Despite the long wait, Jung admits there’s much more anger and frustration at the delays than the circumstances of the matchup.
“I’m not too frustrated that the fight took too long to create,” Jung said. “But me being injured with the eye surgery was a bit frustrating. As far as COVID, that’s a world epidemic, there’s nothing we can possibly do about that.
“So I was OK with that. I got a big sponsor in Korea, so I was able to run the camp in Korea.”
With only the fight on his mind right now, Jung will ultimately settle whatever grudge remains with Ortega on Saturday night. But he’s mostly thinking about the skill set he has to dismantle in order to get a win.
“Brian has great [physicality],” Jung said about his opponent. “He’s got great power and great submission skills.
“Ortega’s never been knocked out before. He’s been hit 300 times versus Holloway. So I don’t want to be the first one to do it. I’m not really focused on the knockout, but more importantly the win.”