Since moving to the UFC as part of the WEC merger, Dustin Poirier and Chan-Sung Jung have gone undefeated and separated themselves as two of the featherweight division's top contenders.
At Tuesday's UFC on Fuel TV 3, Poirier and Jung will meet in a bout that could earn the winner a spot in a 145-pound title fight. The fighters will headline the fight card, which will also feature the likes of Amir Sadollah, Jorge Lopez, Donald Cerrone and Jeremy Stephens at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.
After a 1-1 run as a WEC lightweight, Poirier opted to make a move to featherweight for his UFC debut, in which he shocked then-top contender Josh Grispi with a dominant decision victory. Since then, Poirier has picked up three more victories inside the Octagon, including submission wins in his past two fights.
Meanwhile, Jung entered the UFC having lost three of his past four fights. Despite the downturn in his career, Jung made a big splash in his UFC debut by securing the first twister submission inside the Octagon in a rematch with Leonard Garcia. Then, Jung proceeded to knock out former title contender Mark Hominick in seven seconds.
With both fighters riding the most momentum they have ever had in their careers, let's take a look at whether Poirier or Jung has a better chance of taking a big step toward competing in their first championship fight.
Chan-Sung Jung may have gained fame in the MMA community through his striking against Leonard Garcia in their first meeting.
However, Jung's striking wasn't recognized because it was highly technical or overly powerful. Instead, Jung showed a solid chin by eating shots while throwing wild attacks from every direction in a split decision loss.
Now, Jung has appeared calculated in his fights since being knocked out by George Roop and displayed some power in a quick knockout of Mark Hominick, but that knockout was more a product of the Canadian's recklessness than Jung's striking ability.
Whereas Jung has had a tendency to throw looping strikes, Dustin Poirier presses forward with short, straight punches. That style allowed Poirier to out-land Josh Grispi by a margin of 106 to 35 in January 2011. This fight probably won't stay standing for very long, but Poirier should be able to beat Jung to the punch while both fighter are on their feet.
One of the main reasons Poirier does press forward when standing is so that he can back his opponents up against the cage and clinch.
As a former lightweight, Poirier does possess a size and strength advantage over Jung, which he will look to use to take this fight to the ground quickly.
In his two Octagon appearances, Jung has not been taken down, but he has also not stood across from a fighter with the takedown ability Poirier possesses.
The past six rounds of Poirier's career have seen him completely avoid being taken down while securing seven takedowns of his own. If he is able to use the cage to corner Jung, Poirier should be able to repeatedly take this fight to the ground and work from the top position.
While both fighters primarily look for submissions when on top of their opponent, Dustin Poirier is a more aggressive striker than Chan-Sung Jung on the ground.
It's unlikely that either fighter would stop the other with ground-and-pound, but Poirier has a better chance of using his ground striking to open up submission attempts.
From the top position, Poirier's size could also play a factor against Jung, as he will look to keep the fight on the ground and avoid getting into wild exchanges with "The Korean Zombie" on his feet.
Jung is a decent grappler, but Poirier's stronger frame and comparable ground game will make it difficult for him to escape off of his back.
Neither Poirier nor Jung has ever been submitted in their careers and both fighters have forced a handful of opponents to tap, but "The Korean Zombie" has picked up more than 58 percent of his victories via submission.
Considering Poirier recently submitted Pablo Garza, it is a very narrow edge, but it's hard not to give Jung the advantage in the area of submissions only two fights after becoming the first UFC fighter to ever pull off a twister inside the Octagon.
That being said, the likelihood of this fight ending in a submission is slim with both fighters being so evenly matched on the ground.
With four UFC fights under his belt, Dustin Poirier may have more experience inside the Octagon than Chan-Sung Jung, but "The Korean Zombie" is equally seasoned against top competition.
In his first meeting with Leonard Garcia, Jung has already competed in one of the most memorable MMA fights of all time. Additionally, Jung has squared off against the likes of former title contender Mark Hominick, Sengoku champion Masanori Kanehara and Michihiro Omigawa.
Heading into this matchup, both fighters will be as prepared as they possibly can be for what will arguably be the most important fight of their careers.
By throwing an incredible amount of strikes in his first meeting with Garcia, Jung showed that he has the conditioning to go full speed for three rounds despite only having four fights reach decisions in his career.
However, Poirier has also not shown any signs of poor endurance in his three fights that have reached the scorecards. Additionally, Poirier is quicker and stronger in comparison with Jung, so "The Korean Zombie" will have to win this fight by being smart and using technique, two things he has strayed from during fights in the past.
In a bout between two fighters who are essentially equally talented whether standing or on the ground, Dustin Poirier's athleticism will be the deciding factor in a bout with Chan-Sung Jung that is bound to go the distance.
With two of his three career losses coming via decision, Jung has the chin and submission defense to avoid being finished by Poirier. However, Jung hasn't proven that he has the takedown defense to stay off of his back in this fight, where he will have a tough time escaping or locking up a submission against a solid grappler in Poirier.
Expect Poirier to be quicker on his feet and stronger on the ground, allowing him to gain a narrow edge in a fight that will ultimately be decided by three ringside judges.
Poirier defeats Jung by unanimous decision.
Statistics via FightMetric.com