We here at MiddleEasy love watching Cung Le fight. If it were up to us, we would organize Cung Le viewing parties with a DJ in the corner and Cung Le doing his thing on several large TV’s spread around this hypothetical party-room. It would be a gathering where spinning sh*t would be celebrated, and beautiful violence could be admired. Be it Sanshou, Karate, Tae Kwon D, Kung Fu, MMA – Cung Le has given us a mountain of highlights that have collectively made our jaws drop as fight fans. For a few cherries on top, throw in The Man With The Iron Fist, some decent action flicks and some of the most memorable MMA fights of the last few years (the Scott Smith and Wanderlei Silva fights are great) and in our opinion, we have a legend on our hands. When the opportunity came up to talk to Cung, we couldn’t pass it up, and it was an honor talking to the former Strikeforce middleweight champ about his rumored bout with Anderson Silva, his future, movies and more.
Where did the talk of fighting Anderson Silva come from? Were you expecting him to call on you like that?
I wasn’t expecting that. I actually just came from his camp, I had a few friends mention it then it hit my trainer and management team and it kind of blew up.
You’re open to the fight, correct?
I’m totally open, yes.
If the fight happens you’re probably the most accomplished striker he’s ever faced…
Yeah. (Long pause) Yeah, if the fight happens…
So what’s in your future, Cung? Is the Anderson fight realistic or are you trying to get on UFC on FOX 7 in San Jose?
Actually I’m not trying to get on that card. I don’t know if it’s realistic. I don’t know. If it happens it happens, if it does, I would be really happy but I’m not going to get my hopes up. Chris is the number one contender that has been asking for it, so if it doesn’t happen I won’t get too down about it.
Tell us about your next film project: Targets.
It came a friend of mine and we came up with some ideas and he went off and wrote the script. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will be producing it and working with certain talents and people that I have a passion to work with. Basically an action/adventure movie.
Martial arts or working on and creating movies, do you prefer one over the other?
I actually enjoy both immensely, there is nothing like getting into the Octagon for a fight and competing against another opponent. It’s jsut you and your opponent, it’s not a team sport or anything. It’s very exciting. When making a movie, it has it’s whole different thing. No getting punched in the face. I like both but I know I can only fight so long so I want to make sure I have the next career lined up so when I do retire I want to continue with something I enjoy doing.
That leads into my next question: at 42, how much longer for Cung Le in the cage?
I think at 40 I’m doing pretty good, I’m 2-0 after the age of 40 so, right now, it’s going to depend on how big of the fight and what, where stuff like that. Like the last one, even being injured, going to China, I had to go and I had to go to China for the first time and Rich Franklin… I just couldn’t miss that fight. I had to do whatever I could to, you know, get there. Right now, just keep going, keep training. I just had two elbow surgeries and I’m recovering very well, I’m actually ahead of schedule and I don’t want to rush back in unless it’s a ginormous fight like Anderson, I’m going to take my time, do the right rehab, recover and do what’s next.
What are your thoughts on TRT?
If an athlete goes to a doctor, gets bloodwork and he needs it, fine. Now if he uses it to enhance his performance in competition and his number is already normal and where it should be, no. But if it’s really needed then it’s like insulin for people who have a blood sugar problem and I’m fine with it. I don’t use it, I try not to put too much thought into it, but whatever I’m doing right now, it’s working for me. If an athlete needs it and their numbers are low, they should take it.
Say hypothetically you’re 42 or 43-years-old, and you feel yourself slowing down, would you take it to extend your career? Because we would love to see you fight longer rather than the alternative…
I would probably have to do more research on it. I’m into organic and all natural stuff, so I would have to see long-term affects and I don’t know, I just don’t know how to answer that. I just got blood work and all my levels, everything is looking good, man. All of it has to do with how I live and what I eat and my lifestyle.I don’t really go out and party much, maybe go to the Super Bowl, get fat for a bit, but that’s pretty much it.
How much weight do you cut to hit 185?
I walk around at about 198. I don’t cut that much compared to most athletes. Once I start training I probably hang out around 195 and that ten pound cut for me is the most healthy and safe cut.
Bruce Lee has a few notorious tales about getting challenged by random people to fight, even movie sets. Has that ever happened to you?
Nah, MMA is getting so mainstream now to the point where on a movie set the producer, director all the way down to the grips are asking me questions. It’s pretty cool to see how fast and big it’s grown in just a few years. Really cool.
The Rich Franklin KO is spectacular, across all of the different disciplines you’ve competed in, is that your best knockout? If not, which is?
Oh man. Across all sports. It’s my best knockout in mixed martial arts. I’ve had a few head kick knockouts in San-Shou. I had fought a Japanese Thai kickboxer and I got a round kick to the head after another combination of kicks that was pretty spectacular also. Rich Franklin was definitely the biggest knockout of my career and definitely one of my best.
You called that punch ‘lucky’ in the post-fight interview. Why?
I was just so happy, to be there… I don’t know, I was so excited. I don’t want to take anything away from my trainer, but we noticed that he dropped his hands with the right hook and we trained for it and it connected. I just don’t know. I was there in the moment.
Any talk about possibly fighting Vitor Belfort, I believe you guys were scheduled early in your move to the UFC.
I will do whatever they want me to do. You know, whatever opponent, any opponent they put in front of me I will fight. I think Luke Rockhold is going to fight him, which is a good fight for Luke in my opinion. I think Luke has a very good chance of beating Vitor.
What does Cung Le do in his rare free time?
Family. I spend a lot of time with my kids and wife. I take my kids to martial arts training at my martial arts dojo and I’ve just gotten back into training amateur and pro fighters and spending time with my family.
Imagine MMA 10-20 years from now when the children of Cung Le are grown up, and we have almost a whole new sport. We’re seeing it now with the Rory MacDonalds or Renan Barao, these young killers who have grown up training MMA and all disciplines since they were children. Where is the sport of MMA headed in your opinion?
Right now MMA is becoming a mainstream sport. In the future I think it will be a worldwide sport and every country will follow it. Internationally, like soccer. I think it will be a cross between football in America and soccer worldwide.
How was it working on set with RZA?
Believe it or not, RZA was tutored by Quentin Tarantino for years when RZA was making the soundtrack for Kill Bill. He’s an amazing director and he knows the shots he wants and he gets them.
Can you clarify the Channing Tatum wrestling match at the Super Bowl? I think some people thought it was real…
That’s how we play aroud! Channing and I have been friends forever. He came to my Frank Shamrock fight and he’s been to almost every fight since except for China which he tried to get to. But when we get together we roughhouse and it’s funny how the news twisted. It was just us goofing around. That’s how we goof around.
What are your thoughts on the Aldo/Pettis fight?
I think he’s an incredible striker. I definitely think that if he can make the weight to fight Jose Aldo I think he can win both titles at 145 and 155.
Thanks for your time, Cung. Anything else going on with you?
I made a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme called Dragon Eyes that came out last spring and now it’s on Cinemax starting on Saturday. It’s pretty cool, follow me @CungLe185 where I post about it more with times and listings.