Cung Le Says Movie Schedule Ideal for UFC 139 Bout, Has “No Problem” Fighting Keith Jardine
By Kelsey Mowatt
He has been one of Strikeforce’s biggest draws and its middleweight champion, but if Cung Le had it his way, his next bout would take place in the UFC Octagon. Not only is Le anxious to add a UFC appearance to his extensive martial arts resume, but according to the 39 year-old fighter, the upcoming November 19th, UFC 139 card in San Jose fits perfectly into his busy schedule.
“I have another movie I’m supposed to do but it ended up pushing,” said Le, who continues to act and perform in films regularly. “If I can get on the San Jose card great, if not, I don’t know exactly when the movie will get pushed to. It could get pushed into early December, but I don’t know; it could get pushed until January. So the opportunity to fight for Strikeforce might still be there, but I know for a fact that I’m open until November.”
To date, all of Le’s professional bouts have taken place under the Strikeforce banner, and due to memorable fights with the likes of Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith (twice), the decorated San Shou competitor has become an established presence in the MMA world.
“I’ve talked to both Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) and they both enjoy the way I fight,” Le told FCF. “I know Lorenzo said on Twitter that they would love to have me, but I think a big part of it is some clause in the Showtime contract. I take nothing away from Strikeforce; I’m very grateful to Strikeforce. Scott Coker built me, I came through Strikeforce and it’s been an honor to fight for them.”
“The one arena I haven’t fought for is the UFC,” the San Jose resident added. “They are the biggest promotion; they are recognized worldwide, so that’s a draw in itself. Being a martial artist and not being able to fight for the UFC would be something I would regret….Of course, fighting for the UFC when they come to San Jose would also be very special.”
When news surfaced that Le might return to competition before the year is out, UFC and Strikeforce vet Keith Jardine reportedly began campaigning for the match-up.
“I just heard about that,” said Le, who has worked on films like The Man with the Iron Fists and Dragon Eyes this past year. “I didn’t really know that Scott Coker had mentioned me fighting in December, as the whole push for me is fighting for the UFC in November, but I’m honored that a guy like Keith Jardine wants to fight me. Until I talk to the promotion I don’t know what’s really going on, but I have no problem with it. I’m not moving up to 205 though.”
After dropping five straight bouts, Jardine has now gone undefeated in three, and is coming off a draw with former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi in April.
“I’m sure he would test the waters with me standing but until someone gets caught they revert to what they do best,” said Le, while discussing how a bout with Jardine might unfold. “With me, when I get caught I feel like I can keep it standing, as with Frank and Scott, they caught me but I kept standing. I’m there to throw down until the end.”
“Keith comes from a really good camp, so I’m sure they would have a plan A, B and C,” Le noted about Jardine, who is reportedly dropping to middleweight. “If plan A doesn’t work I’m sure plan B is to take me down, but I have great takedown defense.”
It remains to be seen how many more times Le will fight. Not only is the renowned striker hard to book due to his successful film career and responsibilities as a father, but the veteran is set to turn 40 next year.
“Being a fighter, of course you hear the news, your teammates are winning, training camps are going great for the guys and you get the itch,” Le said. “For me, I commit to something 100%, and I’ve been committed to finishing the three films that I just did, and when I got back I wanted to spend time with my family.”
“Right now, everything is up in the air,” Le added. “I also know I’m not getting any younger, so if I’m going to fight, the time is now.”