Cung Le on Loss to Wanderlei Silva: “My Nose Was Done, But I Wasn’t”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Cung Le’s UFC 139 tilt with Wanderlei Silva last month may have lived up to the expectations of a thrilling, strike filled contest, but clearly the end result was a bitter disappointment for the former Strikeforce middleweight champ. Not only was Le stopped in his highly publicized UFC debut, but the defeat took place in front of his hometown San Jose fans. It was not the way the renowned 39 year-old-fighter envisioned starting his UFC career.
“I’m still really disappointed with myself,” Le told FCF. “I know a lot of fans thought the fight was really entertaining, and I’m happy about that, but I’m definitely not happy about the outcome. I’ve accepted the loss but it took a couple of weeks.”
Early on, it appeared as though Le might be on his way to victory, as he tested and wobbled Silva with a series of kicks and punches. Silva weathered the initial storm, however, and eventually took charge.
“I felt great in the first round, and even in the better half of the second round I was feeling really good,” said Le. “I felt like I was looking for the big, spin kick, and not focusing on anything else. I was just looking for all these flashy kicks but that ended up working against me.”
“My coaches didn’t want me standing right in front of him,” the American Kickboxing Academy fighter added. “For most of the fight I was walking him down or chasing him, and they told me that if that happened, get to the center of the cage and call him to you. For me I just know how to go forward and fight. For the whole training camp all we did was have people attacking me…He had a great game plan. We didn’t expect him to do that.”
A surging Silva battered the veteran with a series of knees and punches late in round two, and as the stunned middleweight attempted to secure a single leg takedown, the bout was brought to a stop with eleven seconds remaining.
“My nose was done, but I wasn’t done,” said Le, while recalling the final moments of the bout that left his nose badly broken. “As soon as the ref stepped in, of course I was rocked at the moment, but I thought time had run out. I thought I had another round. But when I looked up and saw Wanderlei running to the fence, jumping on the fence, I was kind of shocked that it was over. I was definitely rocked a little bit, but I think I had another round in me, either to get beat up more or to launch an awesome comeback.”
Le reports that aside from his broken nose, which required surgery and earned him a 60 day medical suspension, he emerged from the bout relatively unscathed. As a result, Le reports that he’s hoping to return to action sooner than later.
“I’m definitely itching to get right back in there,” said the successful actor, who still has five fights remaining on his UFC deal. “When I came in to sit down with Dana White and Lorenzo (Fertitta), I told them that my project got pushed. I don’t know what’s going on with the project right now because it’s all based on the availability of Jean-Claude Van Damme.”
“As soon as I get cleared and I can spar–I have to be safe at first– but then once we see how my nose is doing we can start thinking about a time line,” Le added.
And in terms of who Le might be interested in fighting next?
“Whatever the UFC wants,” said Le. “For me, I’d really super love a rematch. I just feel like it was such a good fight, we both came to fight, and like I said, I just don’t feel like I was done yet.”