When you look at what Cung Le has been up to over the last year or so, you’re going to find more credits in his acting career than his fighting career.
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion wasn’t able to secure a fight right away after his last win over Scott Smith in June 2010, so he started to pursue his other passion… acting.
Since then, Le has starred in several films with more projects on the way, but he never gave up his dream of fighting; more specifically, fighting in the UFC.
Now that Le is literally just hours away from stepping foot in the Octagon for the first time ever, he’s excited to be fighting again and putting his acting career on the backburner until he finishes Wanderlei Silva on Saturday night.
“Ever since I’ve taken this fight, the Hollywood scene has totally heated up for me, but I just tell my agent, ‘you guys handle it for me, I’m in training camp,'” Le told MMAWeekly Radio. “I know they’re going crazy right now because a lot of movies are making big offers, but it’s all about this fight right now. I made my commitment here.
“I definitely can’t look past Wanderlei. People say ‘oh he’s got no chin’ or whatever, but a lot of people rise to the occasion, and I’m not one of those fighters that will go in there and listen to everyone else ‘oh Wanderlei’s washed up.’ When a fighter’s back is against the wall, they’re the most dangerous.”
To prepare for the fight, Le called on his teammates at American Kickboxing Academy to get him ready. His good friend and former Strikeforce champion, Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal even volunteered to serve as his own personal Wanderlei clone for the fight.
With King Mo swinging at his head daily, Le got back into fight shape pretty quick and realized that for as much as he loves Hollywood, he’s always had a passion for mixed martial arts.
“It’s a big difference between doing movies and training for a fight. Training for a fight is definitely very tough, but I enjoy doing it,” said Le. “Doing movies, I’m away from my family, away for long periods of time. Here I get to enjoy my kids. I like to come home and I have such a wonderful wife that she lets me sleep until I’m ready to wake up, and when I wake up I get to see my kids, and see my youngest grow. I would be sad if I missed all that.”
As he heads into this fight, Le is coming back from more than a year away from the sport, but his opponent, Wanderlei Silva, is returning after rumors had him retiring following a loss in his last fight. Le never believed that Silva was going to walk away, and he knows he’s going to get the best fight out of him possible.
As fair warning to Silva, however, Cung Le promises his absolute best performance ever also.
“I think at this stage, Wanderlei’s had a streak of losses, and for me I was undefeated at one time, I lost to Scott Smith, I learned my lesson from it and I’m not worried about going out there and losing,” Le said. “I know if I perform to the best of my ability, I’ve done everything I could to win. For some reason, if I lose, I can look back and say I did everything.”
Le has been an avid fan of Silva’s for years, watching him annihilate the competition in Pride while he was competing in Japan. Through all of that study, though, Le learned a lot about Silva and what to expect when they fight.
Just like Silva is known for his trademark blitzing style where reckless aggression goes to a whole new level, Le is ready to show the Brazilian just how San Shou works in the cage.
“Why hold back? If I hold back he’s going to come at me anyways, so you might as well throw something at him, because if it catches him, it could be goodnight,” said Le. “Like when I’m throwing spin kicks at practice, I’m throwing them light because there’s other guys fighting too and I can’t throw hard kicks or crazy kicks at them.
“In the fight, I get to throw hard and let go.”
Le will look to make Silva the eighth fighter he’s finished by KO or TKO when they meet on Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 139.