In what was supposed to be one of the more interesting and exciting featherweight title fights in recent memory, challenger Chan Sung Jung was unable to stifle champion Jose Aldo at UFC 163.
Due in part to Aldo's overwhelming athleticism, versatility, strength and home-crowd advantage, "The Korean Zombie" failed to showcase his usual go-for-broke ways.
But even though the 26-year-old took a small step back in the division, he still holds worth as a top contender moving forward.
Here are five fights for Jung to take next.
Even though Hatsu Hioki has dropped consecutive fights to resurgent veterans Ricardo Lamas and Clay Guida, he's still a reasonable divisional threat.
That's why a bout opposite Hioki would put Chan Sung Jung back on the map as far as being one of the top-five fighters in the weight class.
The Korean Zombie would probably have to finish the Japanese grappling specialist to garnish that sort of relevance so shortly after his loss to Aldo, but the bout could be featured on one of the UFC Fight Night events planned for the remainder of 2013.
With relevance as the No. 9 featherweight in the UFC and possessing a three-fight win streak in the division, Nik Lentz makes a perfect candidate for Jung's next opponent.
Lentz recently fought in May in Brazil, but the UFC has yet to pencil him in for another event in 2013. That leaves this matchup wide open.
The fight would give Lentz a chance to lock down a meaningful victory against a ranked opponent, which could launch him into title contention.
For The Korean Zombie, the fight would give him a shot to rebound in fashion. Lentz is one of the toughest outs in the weight class, and putting him away by a barrage of punches or a perfected choke would allow Jung to regain any momentum he lost this weekend.
Jeremy Stephens is a name that's going to ring more bells than the division can handle.
With dynamite power and fierce combinations, he is destined to take his experience from his lightweight days and turn it into immediate success at featherweight.
But what he needs to do that is a big-time divisional name. Chan Sung Jung is that guy.
While The Korean Zombie is better off fighting a ranked contender in search of a title shot, fighting a guy like Stephens wouldn't be all that crazy.
He's well-known, isn't afraid to mix it up on the feet and has shown a weakness in the past when it comes to defending gritty submission attempts.
Jung would presumably feast.
The quickest way for a veteran like The Korean Zombie to rebound from a tough title loss is to beat down an up-and-coming prospect.
Conor McGregor, who is scheduled to fight Max Holloway at UFC on FOX Sports 1 later this month, just so happens to be one of the hottest young commodities in the game.
With international stardom behind him and an exciting skill set, McGregor would be a more than suitable option for Jung.
It would be up to the Korean to harness the worldwide hype surrounding the biggest name in Irish MMA today.
While the UFC rarely makes rematches so close to each other—especially when a title isn't on the line— The Korean Zombie vs. Dustin Poirier bout was so good the first time around that another installment less than two years later would make total sense.
Not to mention both guys are still ranked inside the division's Top 10 coming off heartbreaking defeats.
In any case, a rematch between the two would not only be good for the sake of the evolving featherweight title picture, but it could revamp Poirier's career as a top bill and reinforce Jung's explosive tendencies.
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