At least, that's Cung Le's hope.
After Wanderlei Silva ruined the much anticipated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut of former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Cung Le at UFC 139 back on Nov. 19, 2011, rearranging his nose in the process, not much has been heard from the San Shou world champion.
Perhaps he has been busy over in "Tinsel Town" putting the final touches on his latest Hollywood endeavor, "Dragon Eye’s," which is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 9, 2012. Or, he was getting his nose fixed up again for the third time.
Whatever's been keeping Le away from the mixed martial arts (MMA) spotlight, it will soon have to take a back seat as the head honchos over at Zuffa are requiring his services at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, against former 185-pound champion and all around "company man," Rich Franklin.
The two will go toe-to-toe in a pivotal 185-pound clash to see just exactly where the two are in their MMA careers, though a win for either won't exactly mean an automatic catapult into title contention.
Check out his comments in the extended entry:
"Wanderlei came in with a great game plan. Watching all of his fights, he always comes forward. For him to get on his bicycle and backpedal, you know, have me come towards him, definitely threw me off. Having me take the fight to him threw me off, because my whole camp, from beginning to end, was having people come at me. I'm usually pretty good at chasing people down, but I didn't train that at all. I was on the defense ... it was a good game plan for him. I've got to take my hat off to him and his camp for coming up with a solid game plan. My trainer, Javier Mendez, got on me a lot, because when I had Wanderlei hurt, instead of staying on him with punches, because I was already right there, I stepped back and started throwing wheel kicks, trying to look for that spectacular knockout, and it didn't work out. My trainer told me that was dumb on my part, but, you live and learn. It's in the past, and I've accepted the loss. I was honored to have fought Wanderlei. Now, it's time for me to move forward and get ready to throw down with Rich Franklin."
Le also talked about the badly damaged nose he suffered thanks to the dangerous Muay Thai attack of "The Axe Murderer":
"I didn't even have the surgery until two weeks later. The nose break wasn't actually that bad. The Cardinal rule is when you get your nose broke, you don't blow your nose, but when I was walking back to my corner, I blew my nose to get all that crap out. Of course it blew up, so it might have looked really bad at the time, but it wasn't that bad. Don't get me wrong, it was broken, and I had surgery to fix it. Funny thing, Asians already have flat noses, so with this being my third surgery.... I'm just glad my doctor was really good. He's gotten it a lot straighter than the other two times."
Finally, the all-around kicking machine touched on his upcoming bout with "Ace" and the rigors of cutting weight:
"I'm honored to be fighting a former UFC champion. I'm very excited to get back in the octagon and fight my heart out. It's probably going to be a barn burner. We're both going to be in really good shape. He's coming off a long layoff, and he's cutting down. Cutting weight is no fun. I recently read somewhere that he has a sweet tooth, and I also have one. I think his is for donuts or something, and mine is for chocolate. When we step in the cage, and it's all said and done, maybe the winner can spring for either chocolate or donuts."
With a budding movie career, it is unclear exactly how long Le will keep fighting professionally.
From 2008 to late 2009, Le took a 21-month hiatus from fighting to focus on his film roles, and any bout, could possibly be his last. Though he isn’t talking about retirement in any sense of the word, the successful movie star seems to have plenty of options outside of the Octagon that do not lead to broken noses.
That is of course, assuming he doesn’t do any of his own stunts.
For the time being, Le has a date with Franklin, one of the most respected fighters in the UFC, on July 7, 2012 in "Sin City." Anyone think Le can take advantage of Franklin’s long layoff? Or will Franklin give Le his second consecutive loss in as many fights in the UFC?