Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
After a huge knockout win against mixed martial arts (MMA) mainstay Rich Franklin in the UFC on Fuel TV 6 main event, what's next for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Cung Le?
So, it may surprise some MMA fans to hear that his career in their beloved sport has only spanned the course of six years, during which he has fought a mere 11 times.
He's been busier than most nonetheless.
Before the Vietnamese professional fighter entered the MMA arena, he was a professional kickboxer, amassing a dominant record of 17-0. He's a Tae Kwon Do black belt and a movie star, to boot. In fact, recently, Le played a part in "The Man with the Iron Fists," a film directed by Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, which has drawn much critical acclaim.
Le is a renaissance man, through and through, and so it's seemed that MMA has always taken a back seat in his life and on his priority list.
So, it shouldn't be an overstatement of any sort to say that Le's first round knockout victory over former UFC Middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC on FUEL TV 6 in Macao, China, on Nov. 10, 2012 should now be viewed as the pinnacle of his MMA career.
He's accomplished other feats in the sport. His 2008 Strikeforce showdown with Frank Shamrock is a fight that will forever go down in history. His two fights with Scott Smith will also be remembered by anyone fortunate enough to have witnessed the back-and-forth tandem of bouts.
But, his knockout win over Franklin? That's the top of the mountain. It doesn't get any better than that. At least, it hasn't so far.
And so, some fans and pundits are going to get all worked up, and in the heat of the moment, they'll suggest that this is the beginning of a title run for the Sanshou practitioner.
Maybe they're right. It's not impossible. But, I'm going to take a different path.
Ordinarily, I take this opportunity to look into the MMA crystal ball and try to pick out the perfect next opponent for the winner in question. But, not this time.
That's because I believe that the best next step for Cung Le isn't a title fight. In fact, I don't think it's a fight against anyone. In my opinion, the perfect next step for Le is retirement.
Why not? How many fighters get to go out on top with a huge knockout win in a main event? It's a dream scenario!
He's 40 years old. What else does he have to prove? Do you really think he can beat Anderson Silva? He's not doing straight-to-DVD movies with Jean-Claude Van Damme anymore. He's finally getting really big roles that will get him paid in a very real way.
Could he keep going? Sure. I just don't see the point. I like Le as a fighter and as a person too much to see him keep plugging away and possibly tarnishing all that he's worked for.
He's earned the right to do that if he wants, but I'd rather see him go out riding the momentum of the biggest win of his life.
How about you Maniacs? Do you agree, or is there one more fight you'd like to see Le take part in before he hangs up the gloves?