Prior to his Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers victory over Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Jake Shields had called out former middleweight champ Cung Le for not defending his title. Le subsequently relinquished his Strikeforce crown, something that Shields was more than happy to capture on Saturday night. Although he now sports Strikeforce gold around his waist, he still can’t get Le out of his mind.
“Cung won’t fight me,” Shields matter-of-factly stated after collecting his unanimous decision over Miller on Saturday night. “That’s why he vacated the belt, obviously, and then fights a month later.”
The viewpoint isn’t new for Shields. In an interview with FightLine.com last week, Shields stated that Le would rather face easy opponents than step in the cage with him.
“I like Cung Le, I think he’s a really cool guy and he’s a really talented fighter,” Shields told Richa Mitchell of FightLine.com. “It’s unfortunate that he’s not really into fighting top talent. I would love to have him fight guys like me and Nick [Diaz]. I think if he dedicated himself and put it to it he could be a true warrior, but I just think his mindset is more in easy fights, which is what he’s into so it’s fine for him. But I would love to see him get in the mix and fight guys like me. But, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s really what he wants to do.”
Shields does make a great point. Nobody is hating on Le for dipping his toes in Hollywood’s acting pond, however he shouldn’t be upset when Strikeforce’s elite 185-pounders come calling for a title that isn’t being defended.
Granted, it was more than fair of Le to surrender his strap in late September to set up this weekend’s open middleweight bout, however why would he voluntarily give up his title, only to participate in Strikeforce: Evolution the following month?
“Everything came together so fast,” Le said. “I wasn’t expecting to come back so soon. I had a (movie) project I was working on right now, but it got pushed back till next year, so I figured I’d have a couple months to get in shape. I sat down with [Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker] and told him to give me two weeks.
“I called (American Kickboxing Academy trainer) Javier Mendez, and I started training. And after the first week, [Scott] goes, ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘Oh, I’m very sore.’ But the second week was a lot better, and now I have six more weeks to go. Ready or not, here I come.”
Le’s coming back, but it won’t be with a Strikeforce title and he won’t cross paths with Shields until after he takes on Scott Smith on December 19th. That is assuming he can defeat the relentless Smith. However, if Le were to reign supreme that evening, surely we would have to see a Shields vs. Le clash at that point, right?
“You’d have to ask Cung,” Shields said. “He’s the one who vacated his belt and then decided to fight a month later.”
Burn! Mr. Le?
“I’m actually honored that top fighters want to fight me,” Le said of his in-demand dance schedule. “It means I’ve done something right and made a big impact in MMA. But right now, I take one fight at a time, and if I do well, I’ll look forward to what’s going to be next and who’s next. But right now, I need to make sure to get rid of this ring rust.”
Cung Le faces Scott Smith in the main event of Strikeforce: Evolution. The live Showtime telecast, which will include as many as five bouts, will begin at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).