Fanatics who love tremendous striking battles probably fell into a bout of depression when Anthony “Showtime” Pettis withdrew from his planned UFC 163 title fight with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo due to injury. That left an opening for “The Korean Zombie” Chan-Sung Jung to fill in for Pettis and face Aldo in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 3. Naturally, the switch stirred a bit of commotion among MMA fans, with some believing that Jung stood no reasonable chance of winning the fight against Aldo.

Consider that Jung prepared for a wrestler in Ricardo Lamas before taking the fight with Aldo, a striker by trade,. On paper, Aldo should neutralize Jung’s submission game with a stone-solid wrestling game and take another decision, right?

It would play out as such, except for a number of items that factor into this fight. All of the factors involved support the belief that not only does Jung stand a chance to dethrone Aldo, but also that fans should allow Jung the opportunity to challenge Aldo before passing any judgment.

For one, Jung pushes a pace on the feet unlike that of any other featherweight. In fact, some would consider him one of the best examples of an intelligent brawler, so to speak. He will always find a way to create a violent exchange, disrupt his opponent’s rhythm and set up a chance to catch them with one well-timed shot, as opposed to diving headfirst into an exchange without setting anything up.

When he doesn’t look for the knockout, Jung looks for opportunities to submit opponents on the ground. Even when he gasses out or gets in a much slower-paced fight than expected, he looks for opportunities to advance his position and attack for submissions, as he did against Dustin Poirier when the two fought last year. Also, his submission arsenal does not limit itself to conventional submissions, as he demonstrated in submitting Leonard Garcia via twister in 2011.

Still, Aldo serves as an example of why it proves dangerous to accept a fight against a Brazilian on Brazilian soil. He started out his career with a 7-0 run in Brazil, and after a 2005 submission loss to Luciano Azeredo, he would earn two unanimous decision victories in succession before taking his skill set outside of Brazil. In his lone 2012 outing, he successfully defended his crown in Brazil against Chad Mendes, defeating the then-unbeaten standout by knockout.

Whether or not Aldo possesses the type of head shot needed to put down “The Korean Zombie” remains a question best saved for fight night, but rest assured, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt knows what Jung can do on the ground, so he seems unlikely to try to out-grapple the BJJ-based challenger.

Also, Aldo’s head and body movement deserve much more credit than they get. Even if he fights more strategically than in the past, he leaves opponents concerned about when Aldo will unleash his now-legendary ferocity. Even for Jung, Aldo’s rhythm proves tough to break.

Despite the odds against him, Jung stands as great a chance as anyone of defeating Aldo in the champion’s home country. Does that mean Aldo will face certain defeat on Aug. 3? Highly unlikely, especially if this turns out to be a close bout at the end of five rounds, but if anyone has the style to challenge Aldo, it’s Jung.

Before Pettis’ injury, fans expected furious featherweight fireworks. Now, with Jung in to face Aldo, fans can still expect those same fireworks at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro. It only seems appropriate that in front of arguably the sport’s most passionate crowd, two of the sport’s premier featherweights would create such a display in one of this summer’s most must-see fights in mixed martial arts.

Photo: Chan Sung Jung (Scott Petersen/MMA Weekly)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.