Flashy striker Cung Le will make his long-awaited UFC debut this weekend at UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson against Pride legend Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva.
Le will return to the cage after spending over a year focusing primarily on making movies, but the 39-year-old assures that he’ll be sharp and in shape on fight night, as fighting in the UFC holds great prestige for Le.
“I’ve had a long layoff, but this time around I made sure I stayed in shape and training on a consistent basis. As soon as I came back from China in February, I was back in the gym sparring and grappling and wrestling,” said Le. “So, I feel good. Fighting in the UFC is an honor and I’m very excited to be part of the UFC now.”
Having spent the entirety of his eight-fight professional career competing for Strikeforce, Le doesn’t try to hide his excitement at graduating to the UFC’s ranks.
“UFC’s the top of the food chain. They’re the ones who’ve really put MMA on the map,” he said. “It’s exciting fighting for a different league. It’s like going from the CFL to the NFL.”
Le’s opponent, Wanderlei Silva, is as revered as they come in MMA, cultivating a legion of loyal fans for his reckless, bloodthirsty fighting style. However, the 35-year-old has lost six of his last eight (four by knockout) and many predicted the end for the Axe Murderer following his most recent defeat, a first round knockout loss to Chris Leben. Silva isn’t ready to call it a career yet though and will attempt to prove that he’s as good as he ever was when he meets Le this weekend.
“I never give up,” said Silva. “I’m healthy. I feel good, I feel in great condition and I’m gonna prove that on Saturday.”
A loss, emphatic or otherwise, will do nothing but increase the talk that Silva should retire, but he doesn’t believe that anyone will be calling for him to hang up the gloves after they see him fight.
“I don’t have this on my mind,” he said. “I think my performance is gonna make me fight again.”
UFC 139 will take place from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California this Saturday, November 19. FightLine will be back on the night with our live, ongoing coverage of the event.