After a 3 1/2-year absence from the UFC, Chan Sun Jung looked like he never left.
The South Korean featherweight, who left the UFC in 2014 to serve his two-year mandatory military service in his home country, knocked out Dennis Bermudez in the first round at UFC Fight Night 104 Saturday night.
Jung delivered a right uppercut that knocked Bermudez to the ground before delivering multiple right hands that forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight at 2:49 of the first round.
“I actually was expecting and planning for a five-round decision,” Jung said. “But I thought if I can catch the knockout or submission, then even better.”
Bermudez delivered the most effective blows early in the first round, stunning Jung temporarily. Two minutes into the fight, he thought he was in control.
“Everything was going my way, I felt,” Bermudez said.
Jung is 4-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming to featherweight champion Jose Aldo in his last fight before his spell in the military on Aug. 3, 2013. Overall, Jung is 14-4 as a professional.
Bermudez was ranked ninth in the featherweight division, and this victory makes Jung feel his goal of featherweight gold is once again in his sights.
“My goal is always to be the champion, and I think this fight has put me back in the game,” Jung said.
Bermudez ended a two-fight winning streak but was happy with his performance, saying he felt he improved on his previous showing last August.
It may have been difficult for Bermudez to prepare for Jung, with no recent film to watch. On Thursday, at the pre-fight workouts, Bermudez noted that Jung was in the featherweight division’s top-5. He came in expecting to get the South Korean’s best.
“I put myself in his shoes,” Bermudez said. “If I was away from the sport for three years, man, I would be so thirsty, so hungry to get after it.”
In the semi-main event, the previously unbeaten Alexa Grasso lost to veteran Felice Herrig by unanimous decision in a women’s strawweight fight. Herrig won her second straight fight.
This was just Herrig’s third fight since the start of 2015, with her last being a victory on July 23, 2016. At 32, Herrig felt she was overlooked with the matchup against the 23-year-old Grasso.
“Sometimes, the veterans in this sport actually get overlooked because we’re not these young, up-and-coming fighters that you can market,” Herrig said. “It’s like we kind of get left behind and forgotten about. I wanted to prove I’m here, and I’m here to stay.”
Grasso’s unbeaten record come to an end in her second UFC fight.
Texas native James Vick picked up a lightweight win over Abel Trujillo. The Fort Worth native won via submission in the third round with a choke hold. He improved to 10-1 overall and made a request in the octagon to get his next fight in Texas, as well, during the UFC’s event in Dallas on May 13.
“I’m like a little kid right now. I’m so happy,” Vick said. “This is my state. I love to fight here.”
At 6-foot-3, Vick is tall for the lightweight division. He thinks others in the division think they can wrestle him to the ground, but he proved on Saturday that is not the case.
“I knew that it was going to present itself because I knew he was going to try to wrestle me,” Vick said of the choke. “I don’t know why they think I can’t wrestle.”