There is typically a calm before the storm. At the moment all is calm, but a storm is raging on the horizon. That storm is WEC 51, Aldo vs Gamburyan, set to take place in Broomfield Colorado Thursday September 30th.
Reed Harris and the WEC boast one of the most stacked fight cards in recent memory. As always the WEC offers the best value for a fight fan’s dollar when it comes to quality vs quantity in MMA.
This card showcases the obvious explosive main event between the heavy handed challenger Manny Gamburyan and the extremely lethal Champion Jose Aldo.
Aside from the main event there are match ups between Leonard Garcia and Mark Hominick, Miguel Torres and Charlie Valencia, as well as Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone.
There is one more match up on this card that carries with it all the necessary ingredients to steal the entire show. A match up between a banging brawler and a precision striking ace. Two fellas that don't mind going to war, and once knee deep in the battle, will leave it all in the cage to emerge victorious.
Chan Sung Jung vs. George Roop is that fight.
Sung Jung, better known by one of the coolest nicknames in MMA history, “The Korean Zombie”, is a man who has made a name for himself by being a true warrior, a crowd pleasing fighter who throws caution to the wind and opens the flood gates once he enters the cage.
Roop on the other hand is a man who has made a name for himself as a game fighter putting on striking clinics across the sport. Fighting at his prime weight of 145 Roop has found a home in the WEC. He last went to war with the always exciting Leonard Garcia resulting in a rare split draw in March.
Garcia is a common opponent for Sung Jung and Roop. Roop fought him to a draw and Sung Jung was defeated by Garcia in April. Both athletes needed everything they had to pull those results against the always game and exciting Garcia.
With the entire event barreling down on MMA, it was the distinct honor of the staff at Hurtsbad.com to earn a moment of Mr. George Roop’s time to discuss his upcoming match with “The Korean Zombie”.
First he discussed his training camp.
“Training is going great. We have been hitting it hard. We have been doing shark tanks every day for the last twelve weeks. It has definitely been an intense training camp and I'm ready to go. I'm geared up and when those cage doors shut all I'm going to be thinking about is winning this fight.”
Roop recognizes the hype surrounding Sung Jung after his impressive performance against Garcia. It was a performance that captured the entire MMA community. Roop tells Hurtsbad.com he is looking to put that hype to bed.
“Everybody thinks that ‘The Korean Zombie’ can’t be knocked out. I know he can definitely take shots but everybody is human. He is just good at not showing that he is hurt. Once I hit him with a good shot, I am going to keep putting them after him and I’m definitely going in there with bad intentions.”
Roop added, “Everything that I throw, I’m definitely going to try to finish the fight and make an example out of him and put that ‘Korean Zombie’ name to the test.”
When asked if he learned anything about Sung Jung by watching him compete with a man Roop has experience competing with in Garcia he had this to say.
“Yes, I learn something from every fight. I’ve got a lot of video footage on him. He is kind of the same fighter in every single fight. He comes forward, he is real loopy, and likes to push the pace. It’s going to make for a good fight between him and I.”
He also stated, “Obviously the fight between him and Garcia is a lot of fun to watch, but I'm not going to be one of those guys who will stand there and exchange punches with him. I’m going to see how many times I can’t get hit and see how many times I can hit him.”
Roop has spent a lot of time working with a dear friend and training partner, a finalist in Bellator’s bantamweight tournament, Ed West. He discussed the edge he gets from training with an elite fighter like West who is on a similar schedule with his Bellator run.
“It is definitely a huge advantage. ‘Wild’ West has always been there for me, even when he hasn't had fights. He is someone I can call at two o’clock in the morning if I need a training partner.”
“Ed West is probably the greatest training partner on the planet for me. He is the toughest 135 pounder on the planet in my opinion. He could hold a belt in any organization he wants at 135.”
Roop went on to say, “It is a huge advantage with him having these high caliber fights, we are both geared up at exactly the same time, we are both trying to peak at exactly the same time. It’s a huge advantage to have someone as dedicated as you and to be there every day for you to count on.”
Both Roop and West hail from Tucson along with a few other recognizable names like Chad Griggs, Drew Fickett, and even WEC Champion Dom Cruz. When asked how he feels being a part of the charge of elite fighters out of Tucson Roop had this to say.
“It feels great. There is not a lot of recognition that Tucson gets. We have a lot of good talent here in Tucson, and it’s just a matter of time before everyone is going to see that.”
When in Tucson Roop trains at Apex MMA under Joey Rivera. It is not his only home but it is a place he knows he is welcome anytime without question.
“Apex Mixed Martial Arts we have a great training team, and a great pro team as well. It’s not just a gym, we have a family over there. We all go in there, do real good work, and we take care of each other.”
Speaking of family, Roop is a family man outside the gym as well. His family gives him great motivation when he hits the mats and eventually the cage.
“I totally gain inspiration from my family. I will be having a baby any day now. Hopefully my son is born before my fight or afterwards. It is a huge inspiration knowing that I can make a better life for my family. I want to come home a winner for sure.”
Roop has fought all over the sport, but as stated before he has found a home in the WEC Featherweight division.
“I love working with Zuffa, the UFC or the WEC. I definitely feel that 145 is my weight division, and even felt that way before The Ultimate Fighter show. It is great working for the WEC, I’m on a list with some of the best 145 pound fighters in the world and I get to test my skills against them.”
“I feel great and I feel honored to be in the position that I am in. I am a very lucky person, there are a lot of other fighters that are just as good that could be in the same position as me.”
In closing Roop made a commitment to MMA fans, the WEC, his camp, and his family.
“I got that opportunity and I am going to take advantage of it, and promise to just get better, and every time you see George Roop in a cage you're going to see a better fighter and somebody that puts in twice as much work.”
With an attitude like that it is hard to see George doing anything other than moving forward as he reaches higher and higher to achieve that which he knows he can attain. With the support of Apex, Ed West, his family, and the WEC it should be only a matter of time before he is right at home at the top of his division.
It is the pleasure of Hurtsbad.com to also add that per a recent discussion with Ed West that the Roop family welcomed home their new son Payden Dominick Roop on September 20th following this interview.
Welcome home baby Roop and congratulations to the entire Roop family on behalf of Hurtsbad.com and all of MMA.
Good luck out there Thursday Pappa.
To hear this interview in its entirety visit Hurtsbad.com where this article was originally featured and select the radio link.