History in the Making: 'The Comeback Kid' Scott Smith knocks out former Strikeforce champion Cung Le

Every sports fan loves a good comeback.

One of the best sports stories of all time is the 2004 American League Championship series where the Boston Red Sox -- perpetual losers for nearly a century -- came back against all odds to beat their most hated rivals in the New York Yankees.

They went on to sweep the regular season's best team in the World Series.

Comebacks defy all logic and reason. When you are absolutely sure that the outcome is inevitable, the sports gods flip the script on everyone.

Scott Smith -- who is set to take on Tarec Saffiedine later this month at Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson" -- was given his "Comeback Kid" moniker after a devastating knockout over Pete Sell under the UFC banner back in 2006.

He would earn it, however, in Strikeforce when he stepped inside the hexagonal cage opposite former middleweight champion Cung Le.

Let's take a closer look at this incredible fight.

"Hands of Steel" found himself unemployed in 2007 after losing two straight in the UFC. Like a score of other fighters, an impressive run through the regional circuit stalled out when he hit the big show.

He then signed to Strikeforce to rebuild that momentum that got him noticed in the first place.

Going into the second round of his promotional debut against Kyle Noke, he landed a brutal hook that put the Aussie to sleep and then landed a shot for good measure.

The impressive win, coupled with the company's shallow talent pool, was enough to get Smith inside the cage with the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler.

It was a spirited bout with back-and-forth action until the third round when an unintentional eye poke from Smith forced a stop to the bout. When they rematched two months later, Smith fell short and lost in the second round.

Smith rebounded with a quick knockout over UFC veteran Terry Martin and a third round technical knockout (TKO) over Benji Radach that itself was a come-from-behind victory.

Falling behind on the scorecards during the first two rounds, "Hands of Steel" came out like a man possessed. He slipped a right from his opponent and landed a thunderous counter that immediately put "Razor" to sleep.

Smith's career was back on track.

But a trip to the 209 just as quickly derailed that train.

The future Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz battered "The Comeback Kid" for two rounds before sinking in a rear-naked choke in the third.

It seemed that Smith was forever stuck in the gatekeeper role -- too good for the small-time promotions but not good enough to be a part of the upper echelon of his division.

The sentiment was never more apparent when Cung Le -- who had recently vacated his 185-pound title -- hand picked "Hands of Steel" for what was supposed to amount to an exhibition bout. The San Shou expert unexpectedly found free time in between his various film projects and wanted a chance to show off.

The fight was looked at like a showcase -- a vanity fight to add another 10 seconds to Le's highlight reel. And for over two and a half rounds, it was.

Le started the fight quickly by landing a spinning side kick that dropped Smith to the mat. From there, he lorded over "Hands of Steel," landing ground and pound until the mid-point of the round.

Punch after punch to the head and body were Smith's punishment for refusing to quit.

Back on their feet, the UFC veteran didn't fare much better. Each and every one of his strikes -- save for four -- were either blocked by the San Shou champion or dodged.

Going into the second round, Le continued using his unorthodox kicks to keep Smith at bay while bobbing and weaving his way out of his opponent's strikes.

Barely a minute in, Le landed yet another kick to the body that crumpled Smith to the mat. Once again, Smith found himself on his back with his opponent on top of him. Luckily for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 veteran, he was able to completely neutralize the former Strikeforce middleweight champ's offense and forced a stand-up.

Working hard to get a takedown, Smith grinds his opponent against the cage but is eventually reversed and fed a couple of shoulder shots and knees to the thigh.

It was 10 minutes of near-total domination for the Vietnamese fighter. But as the third and final round began, he appeared to slow down a bit.

Despite that, Le exploded into the third stanza and landed another spinning kick that -- although blocked -- still forced Smith back. Le was looking to end this fight.

Shoulders raised up slowly and then slumped back down as Le began to breathe heavily. "How much more do I have to throw at this guy?" he might have been thinking.

A flashy takedown from Le does no damage but looks good. It was the most significant offense from either fighter at that point what with Le's gas tank hovering above empty and Smith unable to land anything.

And then, with less than two minutes left, it all falls apart for Le while simultaneously coming together for "The Comeback Kid."

A short hook from Smith staggered Le, dropping him momentarily to the mat. From there, Smith swarms. Nearly collapsing backwards, the former Strikeforce champion gets rocked by a looping hook as he bounced off the fence.

Le came forward, hoping to land his own strike, but an absolutely vicious straight from "Hands of Steel" crushed his will -- and his nose.

The movie star fell to the mat, accepting the killing blow Smith had dealt. A few punches to the ground were an afterthought as the referee stopped the fight seconds later.

Scott Smith -- "The Comeback Kid" -- had done it again.

Why do we watch sports?

Humans are competitive by nature. We want to win, we want to be better than the next guy.

Hopes and dreams are in full flight at the start of a season, at the beginning of a fight. More often than not, they go at least partially unfulfilled.

She's a cruel mistress, sports is. She will love you one night and turn her back on you the next. So why do we put up with her? Why do we, event after event or game after game, keep coming back to her?

It's moments like this one.

Moments that shouldn't happen but somehow do. They put a smile on your face when they cross your mind and your voice gets excited when you discuss it with friends.

Because every sports fan loves a good comeback.

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