Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le will be returning to action this Saturday, December 19th at Strikeforce: Evolution from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. Le, who is returning to the cage for the first time in over 20 months, will be facing Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith. Le recently told FightLine.com that he believes that the bout will be a great fight for the fans.
“There’s no giving up in Scott Smith, he’s going to fight you from the first second of the round to the last,” Le said of his opponent. “He’s always dangerous and he’s got a lot of heart and he likes to stand up. I believe that I came from a traditional background, and he comes from a wrestling and boxing/MMA one. It’s definitely a good style matchup for the fans to watch a shootout standing up.”
Not having competed in 20 months can take its toll, and Le admits that he’s not sure how he’ll be in the cage until Saturday night.
“In practice, since I’m always doing it, the timing’s always on,” he noted. “It’s going to be close to 20 months since I fought inside the cage. How you perform in practice and how you perform in the cage are two different stories, you know? It’s not the same, so we’ll see when it comes to fight time how rusty I am or how sharp I am, we’ll have to see.”
The bout is Le’s first since he relinquished his middleweight crown to concentrate on a movie career. His latest flick, Pandorum, was released recently and another movie, Tekken, is due out soon. Le stated that with his busy movie career, he is not looking to get back into the title hunt yet.
“I’m going to take my time until I can have more time and dedicate myself,” he stated. “You know, fight after fight after fight, then I’ll look at making a run. But right now, everything happened so quick, but I’m back. It’s one fight but I know the fans were waiting for me and thought I wasn’t going to fight anymore because of the movies, but hey, I’m back. This one’s for the love of being a martial artist and competing, and the love of the fans too.”
While Le’s future after this fight is unclear, it’s almost certain that his next fight will be inside a Strikeforce cage. While UFC President Dana White has openly stated that he would like to sign Le, Le said that he is happy with where he is at.
“I have a contract with Strikeforce and I have a good relationship with Scott Coker,” said Le. “So I never needed to go out hunting to be a part of another league. I’ve talked to Dana [White] and stuff like that, it’s good to be wanted. Who wouldn’t want to fight for the UFC?
“But when you’ve got a really good contract with Strikeforce and you’re happy with what they’re doing and how they’re promoting you… They’ve always treated me fair and taken good care of me, so I’m with Strikeforce. Nothing against anyone else, [but] my whole career I’ve been with Strikeforce. It’s an honor to be wanted by the UFC, but at the same time, I’m an honorable guy and I’m loyal to Strikeforce.”
Strikeforce: Evolution will be taking place this Saturday, December 19th, inside the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The main card will be broadcast live on Showtime, with the first aired fight beginning at 10PM ET/PT.