Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le is due back in the cage for the first time in well over a year this November, but he won’t be fighting under the banner where he made his bones.
Le has spent the entirety of his eight-fight professional MMA career inside the Strikeforce cage, but with that promotion’s demise seemingly just around the bend, Le has inked a six-fight deal with the UFC; he’ll be facing Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 139 in San Jose, California.
The flashy striker, who’s been out of action while focusing on his film career, appeared today on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with host Ariel Helwani to talk about his impending UFC debut.
“I feel honored and very excited,” Le said. “It’s just nerves and everything going on. It’s been pretty exciting.”
Le gets no easy test in his promotional debut, as he’ll be taking on the very dangerous Vitor Belfort, who’s fresh off of a knockout win over Yoshihiro Akiyama. Owing to Le’s long layoff, Belfort will likely be cast as the favorite for this fight, but Le will no doubt enjoy a boost from the home crowd; from Strikeforce’s beginning, Le has been a staple in the San Jose market since he lives and trains in the city. He told Helwani that he couldn’t be happier to perform in front of his San Jose fans.
“It’s a dream,” Le said. “It’s like coming full circle. My first MMA fight was in San Jose, and now my first UFC fight is going to be in San Jose. Definitely, I’m very excited about it.”
UFC 139 is set to take place on November 19 — one week after the UFC’s FOX debut — at the HP Pavilion.