It appears Cung Le was trying to help the marketing for the film with his performance in China.
Facing former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, Le knew the challenge ahead of him wasn’t an easy one, but he was ready to step up and face the best of the best in his third fight inside the Octagon.
Thus far in his UFC career, Le had gone 1-1 with a loss to Wanderlei Silva and a win over Patrick Cote, but he stated several times that following a bad training camp that prepared him for his debut, his last two camps have been exactly what he needed.
The results showed as a loose and limber Le came out as comfortable as ever facing a very dangerous fighter in Rich Franklin.
Franklin was feeling out the distance just moments into the fight when he threw a leg kick to Le’s thigh. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion countered with a vicious overhand right that cracked Franklin flush on the jaw.
The blunt force trauma sent Franklin’s head and body spinning around like a top, and he fell face first onto the canvas, giving Le his first knockout win in the UFC.
“He kept on throwing that punch at me, and I was able to time my kick. He was loading up and looking for me to kick, and catch me with the punches so I came in and waited for him to punch, and I just came over with the overhand right and caught him,” Le said after the victory.
Despite a late start to his MMA career, Cung Le has managed some very memorable fights in a short period of time including breaking Frank Shamrock’s arm in a Strikeforce title fight, as well as his nasty kick to the body finish of Scott Smith.
Nothing is bigger however in Le’s mind than defeated former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin on Saturday in China.
“That’s the biggest fight of my life. I’m grateful, I don’t know what to say, it was a lucky punch,” Le said.
Of course there’s disappointment in the eyes of Rich Franklin after suffering the knockout to Le in his return fight to 185lbs. The former champion has long talked about climbing back to the top of the division, but this will serve as an obvious setback.
“I’ll have to go back and watch it on tape, a little fuzzy right now,” Franklin explained about the finish.
Cung Le’s love of martial arts has taken him all over the world, landed him in major starring movie roles, and earned him more than a couple of titles. Now at 40-years of age and coming off an emphatic knockout victory over Rich Franklin, there’s little doubt that Le wouldn’t at least entertain one more fight in the Octagon.