No.1 UFC middleweight contender Robert Whittaker believes “the fairy tale ends” for “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung on Sunday (Australian time) when he faces featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in the UFC 273 main event in Florida.
Jung, 35, has enjoyed a long and storied mixed martial arts career, having fought the likes of Dustin Poirier, Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, Frankie Edgar, Dan Ige and Jose Aldo in an unsuccessful title shot back in 2013.
Whittaker admits to being a “big fan” of Jung’s and said he deserved respect for jumping in to replace Max Holloway who pulled out of the trilogy fight with Volkanovski earlier this year.
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But the Australian former middleweight champion can’t see a way past Volkanovski for the Korean in what will be only his second title shot in 11 years with the UFC.
“His tenure in the game has just been phenomenal,” Whittaker said of Jung on Fox Sports’ Fight Week.
“He’s so entertaining to watch and to get to work but I think this is where the fairytale ends for him because he’s up against someone who has just taken that top spot and will not be budged.
“I don’t see ‘Volk’ losing, he’s an absolute powerhouse in the game at the moment, especially in that division.”
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Volkanovski, who has won his last 20 fights in a streak dating back to 2013, is preparing to defend his title for the third time against Jung, having become champion in late 2019, and Whittaker doesn’t see his reign ending anytime soon.
“I don’t see a lot of competition for him up there – he has it all,” Whittaker said.
“He has hard power, he has volume, he has cardio, he has grappling and you can see guys trying to move forward on him like Holloway and everything, they just can’t stand there with him.
“He hits too hard, he’s too relentless and he has the gas to go the entire fight.”
No.3 heavyweight contender Tai Tuivasa echoed Whittaker’s sentiments on Volkanovski.
“He looks like a little pocket rocket but he just goes in there and just blows people away and that’s what I love about him,” Tuivasa said. “I don’t see him losing for a little bit.”
The Illawarra Hotel in Volkanovski’s hometown has been renamed The Volkanovski in his honour, but Tuivasa joked it would probably be a good idea if he didn’t watch the fight at that pub.
“He probably won’t want me there, I’ll probably get kicked out.”