UFC featherweight fan-favorite The Korean Zombie admitted he hit “rock bottom” following his loss to Brian Ortega, gaining 20kgs as a result.
The Korean Zombie took on Ortega in a No. 1 contender fight back in October. Despite entering the bout as the clear favorite following back-to-back knockout wins over Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano, the Zombie was completely outclassed in the matchup. Ortega styled on Korean Zombie for 25 minutes, pitching a shutout en route to a unanimous decision win. Although Zombie has lost before, it was never in this fashion. Before Ortega, no one had truly ever dominated him in that manner.
According to the Zombie, he took the loss to Ortega very hard. Instead of fighting UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, it’s now Ortega who gets the title shot while Zombie remains idle on the sidelines. Speaking to the Korean talk show SBS Plus this week, the Korean Zombie spoke for the first time about the loss for Ortega. The South Korean native explained the tolls it took on him mentally and physically, revealing that he put on nearly 20kgs, putting him in the 190lbs range.
“The thought that my career has crashed brought me down to rock bottom,” the Zombie said, adding that he “ate without control” to gain the 20kgs (via SCMP).
According to the fighter, he put too much pressure on himself to beat Ortega and had severe trouble sleeping in the two days before he stepped into the cage. The Zombie said the loss to Ortega drained him emotionally, and he had thoughts about it being the end of his career. Speaking in more detail about the fight with Ortega, Zombie also said he blacked out after the fight and barely has any memory of the match.
“I don’t remember anything from the second, third, and fourth rounds,” he said.
The Korean Zombie admitted he sought a psychiatrist to help him cope with his emotions and feelings following the loss, and it appears that it’s helping. The Zombie recently called out Zabit Magomedsharipov for a fight between two of the best in the world, so despite initially feeling like it may be the end of his career after losing to Ortega, it seems like he is on the path to stepping back into the cage sometime in the coming months.