Going into his fight against the Korean Zombie, many fans believed Aldo would put on a clinic of striking precision en route to a brutal, one-sided beating. Jung has always shown off his ability to take tremendous amounts of punishment, but in a fight like this it seemed his resiliency would only delay the inevitable. As a former soccer player with professional aspirations, Aldo grew up developing a natural affinity for the art of kicking.As he transitioned into MMA, this skill turned him into a ferocious finisher. Anyone that has trained even a day in Muay Thai will attest to the damage that will result from a well placed leg kick. Many of his past opponents have been on the receiving end of this technique, and the result is never pretty (Google search “Urijah Faber leg kick” if you don’t believe me!).The thing that makes Aldo so spectacular is his ability to limit his opponent’s mobility early in the fight by attacking their lead leg, and then capitalizing on his speed advantage once they are immobilized. A match against the dangerous Korean Zombie seemed tailor-made for this strategy. Wash, rinse, repeat. The only place Jung may have had the advantage would be if the fight hit the ground.
Aldo started out the fight as expected, landing a few leg kicks against his opponent in the early striking exchanges. Then, as the fight continued into the middle rounds, he abandoned this strategy entirely and began looking for takedowns. Why would a fighter with such technical striking ability do such a thing?
That’s why. Ouch.
As it turns out, Aldo broke his foot on one of his very first leg kick attempts. He threw another just to test it out, and it became clear that his striking advantage just flew out the window. In the post-fight press conference, Aldo would explain:
“When the fight started, the first thing I did was kick him, and he [checked it with] his knee. I don’t know if I broke my foot. It’s very swollen. We tried to control [the fight] in a different way. Everyone always expects me to be throwing low kicks, but I’m a complete fighter, and I always try to practice everything. Wherever the fight goes, I try to use all my weapons. I have a whole arsenal of weapons for whoever is out there.”
If anyone was wondering whether Aldo was capable of finding success beyond his striking game, question answered. Jung suffered a fluke injury of his own in the fourth round, and the champion quickly capitalized to end the fight via strikes. Post-fight x-rays would confirm his suspicion of a broken foot, likely placing him on the shelf for the rest of the year. It will be rest well-earned as he battled through several rounds at a disadvantage in order to once again defend his title.