Cung Le can break down a fight no matter where the cameras are rolling.
Le (Twitter: @cungle185), a UFC middleweight and action movie actor, leads a life of dual occupations. He focuses on one job at a time, whether it be movies or fighting, and as of this moment it’s competing in the cage that has his undivided attention.
Prior to Le’s UFC debut in November 2011, against Wanderlei Silva, the Vietnam native endured an 18 month layoff so he could pursue a career in acting. His return to the cage was an exciting bout that won “Fight of the Night,” nonetheless; Le came up short and suffered a TKO loss late in the second round.
Le’s second bout in the UFC is scheduled for UFC 148 on Saturday, July 7, against Patrick Cote. He does not use the hiatus from the cage as an excuse for why he lost against Silva, but expects a better performance against Cote, as he was only out of competition for eight months this time.
“It helps me to stay more active,” Le told MMADieHards.com. “When I first came back from China and took some time off and then started training for my first fight in the UFC, my body was like, ‘Oh my God, what are you doing to me?’ I was used to being in China and eating Chinese food all the time. Then in training camp I had “King Mo” (Lawal) trying to take me down and blitzing me all the time, so it definitely was hard to recover. I was also feeling all the aches and pains, but now my body is getting used to the grind. I’ve been listening to my body and doing the right thing. I have somebody managing my whole camp, every little detail from when I eat to when I fight, so it’s worked out pretty good.”
Le was originally scheduled to face former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, but due to an injury acquired by Vitor Belfort, changes were made to the card. Le said he is not disappointed that he will battle Cote instead of the more popular Franklin, and he understands that injuries occur in the sport of MMA.
As a matter of fact, Le is content just to get the chance to compete.
“It is what it is and you just have to roll with the punches,” Le said. “People get injured in this job. Patrick Cote is going to be a tough opponent and I’m just happy to be stepping in the cage on Saturday. If I let it stress me (out) it would have affected me, but I just kept a positive attitude.”
The change in opponents made a slight adjustment in Le’s preparations for UFC 148, but nothing he had trouble with.
Cote is making his return to the UFC after racking up a four-fight win streak in other promotions. Le was familiar with Cote when he competed in the Octagon, but a fighter can change a lot in two years. Le has been fortunate enough to view the tapes of Cote’s most recent bouts and he has used them to prepare adequately for the Canadian.
However, Le concentrates more on himself than his opponent, so the tapes are only a miniscule factor when it comes to constructing a game plan.
“I have a total breakdown of him,” Le said. “Between my camp and everyone that’s helped me for my camp, it’s all coming together. You can study a person all you want, but you just have to go out there and execute your game plan and not worry about what he does best. You have to worry about what you do best and let him worry about what you’re going to do.”
Coupled with UFC 148 in Las Vegas is a two-day fan expo. Le will not partake in the festivities, but his fans should not be let down as it is for good reason.
“I will not (be at the UFC Fan Expo),” Le said. “My focus is to fight. There’s going to be a lot of fans that might be upset, but they won’t be upset with my performance. That’s my goal, that’s what I’m there for, to give fans the best performance and that’s the most important thing to me.”
While Le may not be the one strategizing for his UFC 148 middleweight affair, he does say what goes into a fight in his other occupation.
Thus far in Le’s movie career he has been in front of the camera. He played Marshall Law in “Tekken”, a movie based on a martial arts video game. Le also starred in “Pandorum” with Dennis Quaid, and “Fighter” alongside Channing Tatum. Le’s latest project, “Dragon Eyes,” allowed the former Strikeforce middleweight champion to venture into a new part of films that is an old way of life.
“I got a chance to choreograph my own fight scenes for “Dragon Eyes,” with Jean Claude Van Dam and Peter Weller,” Le said. “I really enjoyed that, but for right now I am just working on my acting and whatever is next in the entertainment industry.”
On set or in the cage, Le knows what goes into a fight.