by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Up until this past year the question had always been posed to San Shou superstar Cung Le whether or not he could transition his success into the MMA world.
Three fights and three wins later, Le is well on his way to answering with a resounding, “Yes.”
After steadily increasing the difficulty of his fights, Cung will get an opportunity to further cement his spot in MMA when he takes on veteran Tony “The Freak” Fryklund at this Friday’s Strikeforce show in San Jose, Calif., in the evening’s co-main event.
Fryklund, who rose to prominence with the famed Miletich Fighting Systems, will be looking to rebound off a disappointing effort at the last Strikeforce show against Duane “Bang” Ludwig, meaning that Le could very well be in for the fight of his young MMA career.
“I’m feeling happy…because all the hard training is over,” replied Cung when asked how he was feeling heading into Friday’s fight. “This last week is just staying sharp and keeping up my cardio, and being fully ready for the fight.”
Le continued, “I’m actually excited about the step up. I know he’s got a lot of fights, but I also Have a lot of experience in fighting, not just MMA. I’ve got to fight smart and just be patient.”
In Cung’s last fight, he stopped The Ultimate Fighter alum Jason Von Flue in just under a minute after opening a vicious gash over Von Flue’s left eye, forcing a stop to the fight.
Despite his success against Jason, and his other three opponents, Le’s going to have step it up against Fryklund, who will be looking to rebound and use Cung as a springboard back into the MMA spotlight.
“His last fight he fought a very bad fight against Duane [Ludwig],” said Le. “You’re not going to stand up against a world class K-1 fighter and expect to come out of it victorious in the stand-up game. There’s always that puncher’s chance, but how I feel is that he’s going to change his gameplan around [for this fight].
“He’s definitely going to go for the takedown, crowd me against the fence and just work from there. That’s what I am expecting from Tony. If he stands with me, even better, but I’m sure he’s going to try to take this fight to the ground,” added Cung.
With his San Shou background, Le had adeptness in the takedowns department coming into MMA. Since deciding to pursue this sport he’s shored up his stand-up with American Kickboxing Academy’s Javier Mendez and top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Garth Taylor on the ground.
“I’m a lot more comfortable on the ground,” explained Cung. “I train at least four days a week working on my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA ground game. So, if it happens to go down to the ground, I’ll be comfortable.”
Le was part of Strikeforce’s initial offering last year, setting then-MMA attendance records. Since then he’s been asked to further bring in the local crowd thanks to his area stardom and now gets his chance to showcase on a national stage by co-headlining promotion’s first ever pay-per-view.
“I’m just honored to be on the card,” humbly admitted Cung. “There’s a lot of great fights on the card. I’m happy to be the co-main event, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’ll just take it one day at a time, one fight at a time, and so far, so good.”
Not only will Le have an opportunity to showcase at the coming Strikeforce show, but his students – whom have shine for the promotion in the past – will also get a chance to do their thing as part of ProElite.com’s free presentation of the undercard.
“I have Sam Spengler, who’s 185-pounds, and Anthony Figueroa, who’s 135-pounds, also fighting on the card,” said Cung. “They’re going to be fighting on the live broadcast on the web, so hopefully everyone can tune in and support them too.”
If things weren’t good enough for Le in his combat sports career, he plans to keep his blossoming acting career going strong in 2007 as well.
“Definitely I’ve got a few things on my plate, but I haven’t signed a deal yet,” explained Cung. “But I’m sure there will be more movie opportunities for me and probably by the end of this year I’ll be working on a new film.”
So with an MMA career of his own on the upswing, successful students also populating the sport, and bright possibilities beyond the cage, Cung Le is definitely moving upwards and onwards in all walks of life. And, at Strikeforce this Friday against Tony Fryklund, he’ll look to keep that trend going.
“I want to say thanks to the fans, and let them know I think it’s a great card with a lot of great fights, great match-ups,” exclaimed Le. “If you get a chance order on pay-per-view, or if you’re in the area get your tickets before it’s too late.”
Cung closed out, “I’d like to thank my sponsors: Throwdown, Xyience, Knoxx Gear, OnTheCreek.com, Toe2Toe, MyGRide.com, Sprawl shorts; and MMAWeekly for the interview and all the support.”