Believe it or not, but former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le will finally be ending his nearly 21-month MMA hiatus tonight at “Strikeforce: Evolution.” Although his heart has been split between mixed martial arts and movies for the past couple of years, he claims that Scott Smith is the only thing on his mind right now.
“It’s been two years (since my last fight). I’m very excited. I’m a martial artist first so, ready or not, here I come,” Le stated. “I expect Scott Smith to come hard. He’s an exciting fighter and so am I so you can expect a train and a jet (to collide).”
Although he never defended his title after beating Frank Shamrock back in March 2008, Le has been working just as hard in the gym as he has in front of the movie cameras, hoping to extend his MMA record to a perfect 7-0 come Saturday.
“I work ground and pound and my overall game and try to be a complete martial artist. Of course, my strength is my stand up, so I try to keep the fight standing, “Le added. “I’m just going to blank out my mind and, whatever is open, I’m going to take it. I can’t go out there (and be too concerned) with his power. I can’t respect it. I just have to go in there and fight smart, fight my game and make him worry about what I’m doing.”
Because of his extended leave, Le was pressed to defend or relinquish his crown. He opted for the latter and Jake Shields was more than happy to collect Le’s strap.
Shields has been very critical of Le, first for not defending his title, then for voluntarily giving it up only to fight on Strikeforce’s next MMA card a month later.
So, naturally, if Le were to reign supreme Saturday evening, surely we would have to see a Shields vs. Le clash at that point, right?
“Definitely, but one fight at a time. I can’t overlook Scott Smith,” Le matter of factly stated. “He’s in the crosshairs right now. I’ve just got to take my time and enjoy this. I’m just grateful to be a part of MMA and Strikeforce.
“I’m just going to continue doing my best until I can’t do it anymore.”
These two 185-pounders will be headlining the Showtime broadcast inside the HP Pavilion in Le’s hometown of San Jose, CA. You can catch the main bouts airing at 10PM ET/PT.