UFC middleweight Cung Le is at a very advantageous point in his career.
With a budding acting career stirring up more and more roles, Le has the next stage of his life already set up for him, although he's not ready to close the door on fighting just yet.
Late last year at the UFC's debut event in China, Le picked up his second win inside the Octagon by crushing former middleweight champion Rich Franklin with one of the most stunning knockouts in promotion history.
The scary part about the performance is the fact that Le had just undergone elbow surgery six weeks before the fight and had to go back under the knife after the knockout to clean up bone fragments in both arms.
Now six months removed from the Franklin fight, Le is filming a new movie while letting his elbows heal with no timeline on potential return to action set in stone.
"I've just been rehabbing my elbows. My left one is almost 100 percent, but my right one still is not there yet. So it's all about staying with my rehab," Le told MMA's Great Debate Radio recently. "I've got to keep busy or I'll go crazy, and my friend wrote this script for me a while back and we put it in the right hands, the producer just took off with it and all of a sudden we're in rush production because of Dolph's (Lundgren) schedule. He's got to leave soon so we have to shoot soon and wrap him out."
Le is also in talks for another major movie role, although he could not discuss details about the potential film offer until it becomes official.
Right now, as far as his MMA career is concerned, the key word for Le is opportunity.
Le's first fight in the UFC against Wanderlei Silva was his chance to compete inside the Octagon and also face a legend along the way. His second bout against Patrick Cote was about picking up at least one win in the UFC. Le's fight with Franklin was his chance to fight in the first-ever UFC show in China, close to his native country of Vietnam.
For Le to get inspired to return to action, it's got to be about the right opportunity, because he's not slowing down on activities outside the Octagon.
"I feel like right now as I recover I want to see where I'm at," Le said. "It would be awesome if I get like a TUF coach (job). Before I got into mixed martial arts I was the head coach of the U.S. National San-Shou team. I love to coach and it would be a fun experience to coach. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I've got a lot of things going on for me, but I know where my roots are.
"I'm very competitive and if something comes up that's ginormous and I'm healthy, I'll be ready to go."
Health is paramount to Le right now because he took the fight with Franklin when in reality he probably had no business even being in the cage that night.
That's a big reason why Le doesn't want to set a timetable for when he might fight again. Le is hesitant to even commit to the idea that he will compete in 2013 because right now he's just not sure if it will or won't end up happening.
"For me it's all about wait and see," Le said. "I love to compete, but it's been very frustrating trying to recover and just start getting back in and every time I coach or see my guys spar it's like I miss being back in there. It's not a matter of losing the hunger. The hunger's there, but I have to (be) smarter now that I'm 40 and the recovery's not as fast as even in my 30's. I'm in L.A. right now, I even have my trainer out here. We're going to make sure we stay in shape."
Le will continue filming his latest movie in Los Angeles while waiting on a final word for the big project he may be in line for next. Depending on the outcome of that role and the recovery of his elbow, Le could spend the majority of 2013 on the movie set and not in the Octagon.
Still, Le loves having his options open, and if the right fight came along, he could be coaxed into returning to action assuming his body cooperates as well.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted.
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