Vietnamese Talents
Cung Le: From the silver screen to the cage
  • | | December 18, 2009 02:00 PM

Cung Le is one of the most recognizable faces on the Strikeforce roster - the Vietnamese American kickboxer gave up the promotion's middleweight title to pursue his acting career, but he hasn't given up on MMA, and will fight Scott Smith on December 19th. sat down with him to talk history, the movies, and the future. What intrigued you about martial arts? Did you have any childhood heroes that made you interested in pursuing it?

Cung Le: I was a big fan of Bruce Lee. I used to love watching the kung fu movies. When I was about ten years old, my mom put me into tai kwon do to learn to protect myself. I was getting picked on a lot. I did that off and on, and I started wrestling. The next thing you know, I'm a former Strikeforce middleweight champion. Your fights are entertaining and unique when it comes to mixed martial arts. How important is it for you to have an exciting fight?

Cung Le: You know, it's the way I fight. It's what got my name out there. People love to see the dynamic kicks. I always bring those to the table, and I think that's why they follow me. How many times are you looking to fight in 2010?

Cung Le: Right now, I'm just looking at this fight. I'm going to do one fight at a time. I have to get through Scott Smith, and then I'll worry about what fights I'll be doing next. You mentioned your San Shou career earlier. What aspects of San Shou have you been able to bring over to your MMA career? Have you had to make any major adjustments to that facet of your style?

Cung Le: Well, San Shou has all the elements: punching, kicking, sweeping, throwing high and low. It has a lot of different elements, and I'm able to apply a lot of the stuff I do in San Shou into MMA. The difference is that when you hit the ground, you have to transition into looking for submissions or start looking for ground and pound, or you try to stand right back up. It's just like San Shou in that you have to keep your audience and the crowd happy. So it's safe to say that keeping a fight standing will always be your preference?

Cung Le: That is my preference, yeah. You've had a pretty successful acting career so far. Do you think that a loss in an MMA fight hurts your acting career at all? Is that even a concern for you?

Cung Le: You know what? Losing is sometimes part of fighting. For me, I've been very fortunate. As a professional, I'm undefeated. My goal is to stay undefeated, but anything can happen in the game of fighting.

I train like a champion and I win like a champion. But if something happens and I lose a fight, I'll suck it up and lose like a champion. Your fight with Frank Shamrock is one of the things that put Strikeforce on the map. It's an all-time highlight, at least for Strikeforce. How do you see a rematch with Frank playing out?

Cung Le: I would love a rematch with Frank. He gave me the opportunity, and if he wanted to step back in the cage with me again, we'll gladly do it again. Let's do it again. Scott Smith is a pretty hard puncher. Do you have to do anything to prepare your body to the kind of punishment Scott can deliver with his hands?

Cung Le: You know, in any fight, people will get hit. It's part of the game. You just have to make sure you don't get hit. For me, I'm just going to go out there, fight my fight and not worry about his big power punches. Because if I stop to look for it, he might hit me with it. But if I'm out there attacking and throwing my stuff, he has to be on the lookout for my stuff.

It works great for both of us. He's dangerous with his punches and I'm dangerous with my strikes. I'm known for my big kicks. So you have an exciting matchup with the big puncher versus the big kicker. Speaking of big fights - Dan Henderson is now with Strikeforce. Do you see a Henderson/Le bout on CBS in the future?

Cung Le: I see Cung Le versus Scott Smith playing out on December 19. Like I said, I never look past the opponent that's in front of me right now. I think that signing Dan Henderson is great for the promotion and I think he's going to do a lot for Strikeforce. But right now it's just one fight at a time.