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Cung Le next fight? Fill in the blanks

cung le
Newly crowned Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le has suddenly found himself to be the toast of the town.

And why not? His stand-up clinic on Frank Shamrock has earned him his 15 minutes.

How much fame he has after that is entirely up to him. If his performance on Saturday night is any indication of his progress, we may be seeing a lot more of the San Shou master in the months to come.

And with a Strikeforce/NBC late night television deal in place, we could also be looking at another leap in mainstream exposure.

Yet as with any "new" player in mixed martial arts, fantasy matchmaking goes from intelligent and plausible to midnight madness in 10 posts or less.

Let's first get the obvious out of the way: Unless something cataclysmic happens to the UFC business model, Cung Le is not going to face Anderson Silva anytime soon, if ever.

And Phil Baroni would go from New York Badass to New York Cheesecake after a few of Le's kicks find their mark.

At the press conference immediately following Strikeforce: "Shamrock vs. Cung Le," the undefeated middleweight was given the obligatory questions about who he'll fight next.

Le didn't really have an answer. Nor should he have, since he was only an hour removed from the biggest win of his career.

Now reporters would be remiss in their duties if they didn't do some matchmaking of their own. Names like Kazuo Misaki (PRIDE's 2006 Middleweight Grand Prix Champion and latest Strikeforce acquistion) and Robbie Lawler (Elite XC Middleweight Champion) were offered up to which Le seemed genuinely interested -- especially Lawler, who Le praised as a talented veteran.

Of course those opponents were offered more as available talent rather than serious contenders. Especially Lawler, who has an upcoming fight with Scott Smith already booked for May 31 and he's not even a Strikeforce fighter. However, a match up could be made if desired (and agreed upon) for another Strikeforce/EliteXC copromotion.

It's my opinion that after Kimbo Slice has his turn in the spotlight for the upcoming CBS event on May 31, the non-UFC focus will again return to Le, who may find himself fighting a middleweight gatekeeper while Shammy gets his arm in order.

Yes, Shamrock vs. Le II will happen. And why shouldn't it? Was anyone who witnessed the first fight bored with what they saw? There's certainly plenty of drama to hype it with the way things ended.

A humbled Shamrock may even implement a more strategic offense the second time around. I'm pretty sure his veteran status will let him off the hook without another fight before the rematch.

Le as champion however, will likely have to defend at least once. No question the Strikeforce brass will approach with caution, as to keep the upset bug at bay until Shamrock is ready.

Then again that's one bug who just likes to keep biting.

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