Who will Anderson Silva fight next? That seems to be one of the biggest mysteries in MMA today. Will it be Chris Weidman? How about a champion vs. champion matchup against Strikeforce kingpin Luke Rockhold? Could Rashad Evans drop down to face him? Those seem to be the candidates receiving the most buzz, but over the weekend, a wild card emerged in the form of Cung Le.
That possibility came from Silva’s manager Ed Soares, who admitted even while saying it that he didn’t know whether it was a fight that would interest the UFC.
The mention flattered Le, who has been idle since his Nov. 10 knockout win against Rich Franklin. The 40-year-old, who has one foot planted in the fight world and the other in Hollywood, is in a position where he can pick the path of his future, and he admitted that a fight with Silva is something that would interest him.
“If the UFC wants me to fight after our discussion, I’m totally open for it,” he said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
But Le didn’t exactly campaign for his name to be added to the mix, and he certainly didn’t put out the vibe that he would push for it now, either.
Le said that’s partly because of his personality, which has never been the smack-talking type, and has always more resembled the stereotypical respectful martial artist. But it’s also because he feels he will have good career options regardless of whether the fight comes.
“For me, I don’t mind either way,” he said. “I’m just happy that I’m in the mix. There’s a lot of great fighters out there. Chris, Luke Rockhold is another name that people should watch out for. I’m open for whatever. Whether it’s fighting, coaching or doing movies.”
Le, who said he has three movies in various stages of production, plans to take his fight career as far as it can go, but with realizations about the limitations of what an aging body can do.
Prior to his last fight with Franklin, for example, Le (9-2) suffered two significant injuries during training camp. Six weeks before the bout, his elbow locked up, requiring a secret surgery to remove bone spurs. Then, about one month before the fight, he suffered a sparring injury that caused his foot to swell up.
Le actually saw the setbacks as positives as they allowed him to take time off, allowing his body to rest.
He might not be able to get away with that against Silva, the long-reigning middleweight king, especially because agility is needed to beat him. He says being able to “stick and move and go after him” is the key to beating Silva, and that instead of fighting to survive like others have done, he’d fight to win.
So, he would be willing to take the fight if he was approached, and if he had enough time to prepare his mind and body. That would check off one of the two remaining goals in his career; the other being a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter.
All of it right now is purely speculative. If it doesn’t happen, he’ll move on to consider whatever it is that is offered to him. And if it does?
“If the fight would ever happen, I wouldn’t be scared because he’s pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world,” he said. “I’d be excited to see how I do, whether I get beat up or whatever. It doesn’t matter. That’s why we compete. That’s why we challenge ourselves. That’s what makes us who we are, and I love the challenge.”
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