Cung Le Talks Critics, Return, Jake Shields And More


THe following is an interview excerpt done between and Cung Le: There seems to be a perception on the internet, at least among the hardest of the hardcore fans, that you are either handpicking your opponents or Scott is hand-picking easy opponents for you. Why do you think that perception exists?

Cung Le: I don't know. Those fans aren't the ones handling the promotion of the show, or trying to sell tickets. They're not the ones putting these shows together. Everyone is going to have their own opinion, of course. And I understand that there are hardcore MMA fans. But in order for this sport to grow, the sport needs your average fans like the NFL, like baseball or basketball.

We need those people to follow MMA and to become fans of MMA. And sometimes the matches that the hardcore fan wants to see might not appeal to the regular, casual fan. And I think Scott Coker, out of everyone involved with Strikeforce, understands that. He understands that in order to move the company to a higher level, to the level of other major league sports, to the level of football or baseball or basketball, you have to get more fans. And if we're just trying to put the fights together that hardcore MMA fans want to see, how are we going to move forward?

I've sat down and asked Scott Coker about that, and we agree. The more fans you get, the more you can pay your fighters. It becomes more lucrative for the fighters and for the promotion, too. I trust in Scott's vision and I believe that he's doing the right thing.

I mean, look at someone like Jacare (Ronaldo Souza). If the hardcore fans want to see a jiu-jitsu match, I'm sure they can match Jacare up with Jake Shields. They can have a jiu-jitsu match. And then people who haven't seen MMA will watch that fight, and they won't understand it. They'll think MMA is ground fighting.

You need compelling matchups. The Scott Smith fight is an interesting fight. I don't think that's an easy fight for me, not at all. That's not a handpicked opponent! For me to come back after being away for two years and fight someone like Scott Smith? I don't think that's a handpicked opponent at all.

People can say whatever they want to see. They're just keyboard warriors. Go right ahead and keep clicking away at that keyboard. It doesn't bother me at all.

Sports Betting

Latest MMA News

Derrick Lewis

Derrick Lewis on Francis Ngannou: ‘That Guy is Real Ignorant’

Derrick Lewis isn't fond of Francis Ngannou's assessment of his skills. Back in March, Ngannou said he wasn't impressed by Lewis. "The Predator" said fighting...
Misha Cirkunov

Misha Cirkunov Says He’s ‘Very Surprised’ Nikita Krylov is no Longer With UFC

Misha Cirkunov is a bit puzzled that Nikita Krylov isn't with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) anymore. Cirkunov's last bout was against Krylov back in...
T.J. Dillashaw UFC

Mighty Mouse vs. T.J. Dillashaw Being Looked At For August: White

With Cody Garbrandt's back troubles causing the previously announced Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw bout to be pulled from UFC 213, the UFC is looking at...
Yoel Romero

Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker Set For Interim Title Bout at UFC 213

The stage is set for an interim title bout between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. UFC 213 was supposed to be headlined by a bantamweight...
Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov Has Sights Set on Interim Title Bout in October

Khabib Nurmagomedov is eyeing an interim lightweight title bout this fall. At UFC 209 back in March, "The Eagle" was set to do battle against...
Dana White

Dana White on Cris Cyborg-Angela Magana Incident: ‘It’s Very Serious’

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White recognizes the severity of Cris Cyborg's incident at a recent Athlete Retreat. Cyborg and Angela Magana had a...
Lorenz Larkin

Lorenz Larkin on UFC Run: ‘That’s a Chapter in my Life That’s Gone’

Lorenz Larkin wants to leave his time with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the past. Larkin will be making his Bellator debut on June...
Rory MacDonald Weigh-In

Rory MacDonald Says UFC ‘Easily Let Things Slip Through Their Fingers’

Rory MacDonald feels the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) doesn't keep tabs on things as much as they should. After losses to Robbie Lawler and Stephen...
Jorge Masvidal

Jorge Masvidal: ‘I Only Want The Highest-Ranked Dudes’

Jorge Masvidal is ready to dust himself off and move on to the next one. At UFC 211, Masvidal took on Demian Maia inside the...
Cris Cyborg

Cris Cyborg Releases Statement on Incident With Angela Magana

Things got physical between Cris Cyborg and Angela Magana at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Athlete Retreat. In a video released by Cage Pages, Cyborg...