Apparently, "ring rust" has no effect on zombies.
In his first fight in more than three years, "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung (14-4) beat Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez (16-6) via first-round knockout in the main event of UFC Fight Night 104 on the eve of Super Bowl 51.
True to his moniker -- "Zombie" was listed on-screen instead of "Jung" during live action on the telecast -- Jung was nearly buckled by a heavy right from Bermudez in the first minute, but he kept coming forward. The Zombie found an opening and landed a flush right uppercut that floored "The Menace."
Jung swarmed Bermudez before Herb Dean stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 29 seconds. Bermudez had won nine of his previous 11 fights.
"I wasn't really expecting it," Jung said through a translator. "It just sort of happened."
In October 2014, Jung suspended his MMA career to complete the two-year, government-mandated military service required of all South Korean male citizens. When Jung had last walked to the Octagon, he challenged Jose Aldo (26-2) for the featherweight belt at UFC 163 in August 2013. It was the same card on which current women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes made her UFC debut.
Jung left the promotion ranked No. 8 in the division. Now 29 years old, he left the Toyota Center with a performance to suggest top-10 talent remains.
It was Jung's first win since May 2012.
"It definitely felt different from sparring," Jung said. "I felt like this is the real thing. This is the Octagon."
When asked about absorbing the punch from Bermudez after the fight, Jung said he didn't remember it.
Jung was one of four fighters awarded a performance bonus, alongside Marcel Fortuna (9-1) and both participants in the Fight of the Night: Jessica Andrade (16-5) and Angela Hill (6-3). In five career fights in the UFC, Jung has four wins. All four earned postfight bonuses.
Herrig wears down Grasso
In the co-main event, the hype train for strawweight Alexa Grasso (9-1) lost steam in front of a partisan Houston crowd. Despite chants of "Me-xi-co" echoing through the arena, the 23-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, suffered her first career loss to UFC veteran Felice "Little Bulldog" Herrig (12-6).
Herrig swept the judges' scorecards against the 12th-ranked Grasso, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. Herrig was largely content to keep the fight on the feet, acting as the aggressor and punctuating combos throughout the 15 minutes. Grasso, meanwhile, seemed timid, largely unwilling to move forward and showcase her boxing credentials.
"I think people forget. They call me a grappler now," Herrig said. "I was a four-time champion in kickboxing. I think people forgot about it because all they see in the Octagon is my grappling."
Herrig won her last fight in July in her native Chicago after a 462-day layoff and won a performance bonus in the process. Herrig said the time away preceding that bout reinvigorated her career.
"For so many years, I thought the more I did, the more disciplined I was being," she said. "I starved myself to cut weight. I used to overtrain. Every camp I felt like I had to top myself. I completely burnt myself out. You're seeing a new evolution of the Little Bulldog."
Speaking with UFC analyst Brian Stann in the cage after the fight, Herrig called out Paige VanZant (7-3) as her next opponent. VanZant beat Herrig in April 2015. Herrig also said she would be willing to next face Michelle Waterson (14-4), who beat VanZant in December.