UFC Singapore saw the final walk of The Korean Zombie, following a knockout loss at the hands of Max Holloway. With Zombie, a.k.a. Chan Sung Jung, announcing his retirement following the fight, we know what is next for the featherweight legend — but how about the rest of the card?
The Korean Zombie
Chan Sung Jung, who prefers his nickname to his given name, stepped into the cage for the last time in the main event of UFC Singapore against future Hall of Famer Max Holloway. While Holloway is perhaps just past his prime, Zombie appears well past it. Still, he gave a good account of himself and his patented relentless aggression was on full display, making for an entertaining fight. That is also exactly what got him knocked out, but he was able to surprise Max and hurt him a few times.
The scenes were emotional on television as Zombie laid his gloves down in the octagon, bowed before them for a minute, and then walked away for the last time as the entire crowd in Singapore sung along to the iconic walkout song ‘Zombie’ by the Cranberries. His career will be celebrated for a long time, with legendary fights like his first fight with Leonard Garcia in WEC, his submission victory in a FOTN over Dustin Poirier, and his five round war against Yair Rodriguez being among the best fights in history.
His iconic finishes must also be mentioned too: He had the fist Twister submission in UFC history, he was the second man to ever KO Frankie Edgar, and he still owns the fastest finish in UFC featherweight history at seven seconds, over Mark Hominick. Zombie may be gone but his legacy lives on as a cultural icon in Korea, a pioneering force in Asian mixed martial arts as a whole, and one of the best action fighters ever.
Zombie’s Next Fight: Retirement
In a rematch of dubious necessity Ryan Spann once again lost to Anthony Smith in the UFC Singapore co-main event. This fight was closer than the last, where he was finished in the first round in 2021, but the judges did not give him the nod and it goes on his record as a loss, Spann’s second in a row. For now Spann is ranked tenth at light-heavyweight, but his ranking will likely drop on Tuesday and he will need to fight down in the rankings next.
Undefeated Azamat Murzakanov, former GLORY kickboxer Dustin Jacoby, and brutal Muay Thai specialist Khalil Rountree Jr. are all logical fights for Spann next. Azamat is one of the brighter prospects at 205-lbs and is deserving of this fight, or an even higher ranked one. Spann will have to prove he can beat a powerful striker and mauling wrestler in the Russian sambo specialist.
Spann’s Next Fight: Azamat Murzakanov
After holding off unranked challengers to win his last two fights, Alex ‘Bruce Leeroy’ Caceres faltered when facing a higher ranked contender than him in Giga Chikadze. He will once again need to fight down in the rankings, and since he is ranked fifteenth at featherweight that means fighting an unranked prospect.
The obvious options are two British prospects who both got good wins at UFC London recently: Nathaniel Wood and Lerone Murphy. Either one makes perfect sense, but Nate Wood is perhaps more deserving after beating Charles Jourdain and Andre Fili, two featherweights who were also on the verge of the rankings at the time.
Caceres’ Next Fight: Nathaniel Wood
Fernie Garcia earned his UFC contract with a big knockout on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021 but has lost three wide decisions in the UFC since then. Not many UFC fighters can go 0-3 and keep their job, so it is likely that Fernie will need to go back to the regional circuit, sharpen his tools, and find his way back to the big show. If he does stick around, it’s probably an incoming fighter next.
Garcia’s Next Fight: Outside of UFC/new fighter
Former title challenger, and arguable title winner, Taila Santos gave the division’s brightest prospect Erin Blanchfield all she could handle in the first round at UFC Singapore. Santos’ striking shown through early and she defended the takedowns but as the fight went on Blanchfield’s cardio and relentless cage-wrestling let her wear on Taila, earning her the 29-28 victory as Santos tired out late.
After winning four in a row Santos has now lost two decisions back-to-back in which she gave a good account of herself and looked capable of victory, but it is still two losses in a row which means she will fight down in the rankings now. The next brightest prospect in the division, who is deserving of fighting up, is Maycee Barber. Barber’s recent development as a brutal striker, shown in her fight against Amanda Ribas, makes her one of the more intriguing and popular prospects at 125-lbs and the fight with Taila would be a big one, and a big test for both.
Santos’ Next Fight: Maycee Barber
Porter’s first round knockout loss to Junior Tafa was similar to his loss to Junior’s brother, Justin Tafa. He has now lost three of his last four fights after a 3-1 start to his UFC career. Still, 4-4 is a fine record that keeps him in a job with the promotion for now. He will, however, have to give another less experienced prospect a chance.
Karl Williams has looked like a fighter with some potential in his two UFC fights and wins. Him and Porter both have similar, well-rounded games and solid cardio for heavyweights, making them well-matched for this potential bout.
Porter’s Next Fight: Karl Williams