UFC Shot Eludes Ron Jhun…For Now:
Rumble On The Rock Up Next
By Loretta Hunt
It’s the call every American fighter waits for. UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is on the other end, and he wants you to fight. Hawaiian resident Ronald Jhun got that call early last week, but do to prior commitments will not be making his long-awaited Octagon debut come June 19th’s UFC 48. "It was kind of bad timing," shares Jhun from the construction site he works full-time from to support his wife and four kids, with yet another little one on the way. "I just told them right now, I have obligations to Rumble On The Rock and I was pretty much committed to them, but I would take the fight if they would wait on me." Jhun is scheduled to meet Team Quest up-and-comer Ryan Schultz this Friday, and was hoping the UFC could hold off till after. But, according to Jhun, the UFC didn’t call back and word quickly surfaced that the vacant middleweight slot would go to UFC 30 veteran Curtis Stout.
Despite the UFC’s decision to lock down Stout instead, Jhun insists that all is well between him and the UFC. "I didn’t sign anything," he says. "We were in talks and negotiating for a possible fight with Lee Murray, and I was telling them I fight at welterweight now, and would it be possible for me to crack into the UFC at 170?" Since moving down to the welterweight division, the 20-11-2 fighter has celebrated a level of success, with draws to UFC vets Shonie Carter and Dennis Hallman, and another victory over Carter in their rematch that followed six months later. Jhun has gone 6 for 2 in his last eight fights.
Following the unofficial news that Stout was in and the heap of unsubstantiated negative gossip that followed, Jhun says he was grateful to receive another phone call from Silva. "He kind of shed some light about me fighting in the UFC," Jhun comments. "He said I’ve pretty much been on their list for quite sometime, but it’s been bad timing. Either I’ve had an event that was scheduled around that time or I had a big fight that I lost or something. But, I’ve been contacted by them [the UFC] at least two or three times already. I think that the position that Joe Silva is in right now, he’s kinda under the gun and he needs to get a committed fighter right now."
"He said that Lee Murray requested me," Jhun adds, with a twinge of approval in his voice. Dubbed "the Machine Gun" for his stand-up tenacity, it is feasible to see why the UFC would encourage a match-up of its kind. In addition, Jhun has a win over Murray’s teammate and UFC 38 participant James Zikic at Superbrawl 12.
But, for now, Jhun is doing what many fighters do in situations like these. "I’m not even looking past this guy," the Hawaiian wisely conveys about his pending battle with Schultz. "I just been kind of brushing everything off. Guys have been calling me asking for interviews and how I feel about the UFC, and I’m like, first of all, I gotta fight next week. This fight that I have coming up is a big fight to me. It’s a big deal, because it could make or break both of us guys. I’ve seen a few of this guy’s fights, and even though he a wrestler at heart, he’s looks to be a brawler. He just tries to go in and knock everybody’s heads off."
If Jhun is able to get past Schultz, though, he divulges there’s already been talk with Zuffa for a debut on the UFC 49 card, tentatively scheduled for August. Till then, a cheerful Jhun says he will continue to take it one fight at a time, having already reached a level of notoriety in the biz that attracts some of the gamer opponents out there. "They should call me the ‘Billy the Kid’ of this sport," Jhun laughs. "Everybody that I fight, they become famous after it, not me." All in due time, Ron, all in due time.