Australian UFC featherweight king Alex Volkanovski has defended his title by knocking out “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the fourth round at UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Florida.
This victory marks three successful title defences for the Australian since capturing the title from Max Holloway in 2019.
Volkanovski appeared calm and in control as he set the pace of the bout and brought the fight to his opponent, in a bout UFC commentator Joe Rogan described as his “finest performance inside the octagon”.
“He’s better than he’s ever been, and he was already the best,” Rogan said during the third round.
“It’s not just that he’s the best featherweight in the world, he moves closer and closer to that No.1 pound-for-pound status.”
Despite a slight disadvantage in reach, Volkanovski was able to enter the striking pocket to land heavy hands before slipping out of the way of Jung’s return shots, as well as consistently using his jab to disrupt the Korean’s timing.
Volkanovski paired his effective boxing skill with heavy kicks to Jung’s lead leg, taking away the challenger’s base of movement.
The champ out struck Jung at every exchange, ending each round with more than double the amount of successful significant strikes than his opponent, ending when referee Herb Dean brought a stop to the bout 45 seconds into round four.
In the cage, Volkanovski dedicated his performance to his family and his homeland.
“Everyone back home in Australia! Too good! I’m bringing it home! Love ya!”
“I’m on another level right now, I can’t be stopped, and I just showed you.”
An 11-year UFC veteran, Chan Sung Jung said he was thinking about his future.
“It felt like I hit a wall I couldn’t get over,” he said.
“After every loss I always think about leaving the octagon, leaving the MMA game, but I have to think on it.”
Chan Sung Jung holds the record for the longest time between UFC title fights at 3171 days after a losing effort to Jose Aldo at UFC 163 in 2013.
The co-main event of the night saw Aljamain Sterling unify the UFC bantamweight title against interim champion Petr Yan by split decision.
This was the second time the pair had met in the cage, the first meeting in March 2021 saw a controversial finish as, due to an illegal knee from Yan, Sterling was crowned UFC bantamweight champion – the first champion in UFC history to capture the belt by disqualification.
After the bout, Sterling said he enjoyed proving himself against Yan.
“I never had doubt in myself, I think people could see that here today,” he said.
“It’s been 13 long months. I’m glad I came out the right side of the decision.”
While Sterling is open to a possible third bout with Yan, his eyes are looking ahead to a possible bout with former champion T.J. Dillashaw.
“If [Yan] wants to go 0-3 against me, he can do that, but Dillashaw would be someone I would enjoy punching.”
After the fight, Volkanovski said he was thinking about his next move.
“I’m raising the bar each time, and you’re seeing that, a lot of these guys can’t touch me. Next time I get in there, I’m going to be better again,” he said.
“I’m going to talk to my team, I’m interested in the biggest fights and I’m in a position where I can do a few things. I might move up to lightweight, most of my training partners are lightweight and middleweight.”
Outside of the UFC, Volkanovski holds victories at lightweight, middleweight, and welterweight.
While no date has been confirmed, Volkanovski said he has his heart set on fighting on home soil.
“I want to defend my belt in Australia. I’ve fought that many times in other people’s home countries. I want to defend my belt in Australia. I think I deserve that.”
For his showing at UFC 273, Volkanovski was awarded the performance of the night award.