Shane Jung wasn’t sure his daughter would recognize him once his fight with Connor Thompson was over.
“I expected a five-round war,” said the Duncan fighter, who ended up defeating Thompson rather cleanly for the Battlefield Fight League amateur regional bantamweight (135lb) mixed martial arts title on July 8. “I expected to come out with stitches and give him some stitches too. I expected to go home to my daughter looking like a different person.”
Jung came home to his two-year-old daughter Briella looking pretty much like he did when he left. Instead of the marathon he anticipated, the bout turned out to be a sprint as he beat Thompson with a rear naked choke in just 57 seconds.
Thompson went into the fight undefeated (2-0) in MMA and in Muay Thai, and ranked second in B.C. in MMA. And he was given the “A” side of the promotional poster. Jung went in with a 7-6 record in MMA, including a loss in his only previous Battlefield appearance.
Jung entered the match, one of four title fights on the card for Battlefield 50 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, with a precise game plan. He wanted to test Thompson’s wrestling abilities in the early going. He got a takedown with his opening right, and executed the rear naked choke inside a minute.
To qualify for the bout, Jung had to get down to 135 pounds from his usual 160, dropping even more weight than he did for his last fight at 145.
“That was crazy to get down to,” he acknowledged. “But I’ve had my most success at 135.”
Casey O’Leary, another Duncan fighter and former training partner of Jung’s, was also on the Battlefield 50 card, and lost his 143kg fight against Gio Platon.
In the main event, Taylor Christopher, who narrowly beat Jung in a Battlefield featherweight (140kg) title bout in February, won against highly touted Russian fighter Philip Romanov.
“That adds to my last performance,” Jung said. “Knowing I could take [Christopher’s] best punch.”
BFL continues to impress Jung with the calibre of their events and fighters.
“Battlefield does a great job,” he said. “They’re sending fighters to UFC regularly. Four of their last five champions have gone to UFC.”
Jung went nearly four years between fights prior to his title bout with Christopher in February, but his confidence was higher than ever going into that one. He felt even better as he entered the ring against Thompson.
“I’ve never been better,” he said. “I’ve never been more prepared.”
His family, however, has become more of a priority, and it might be a while again before he returns to the ring. Reports of his retirement after beating Thompson were a little premature, but he’s not eager to fight again soon.
“I’ll take a break, let my daughter grow up a bit and re-evaluate,” he said.
Jung will also keep busy running his Duncan gym, Black Box MMA, which is churning out young competitors.
“We have a lot of studs coming out of here,” he said. “These kids are so much better than I was at that age.”
Jung definitely hasn’t lost his passion or respect for mixed martial arts.
“It’s a forever humbling sport,” he said. “You’re never going to be the best, but you’re always pushing to be the best. It’s very satisfying to be part of.”