Strikeforce: Cung Le Fully Prepared and Ready To Make Scott Smith Pay in Rematch

Joshua CareySenior Analyst IJune 26, 2010

Strikeforce is live from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., and after months of anticipation the mixed martial arts world will get to see a re-match between two of the sport's most exciting middleweight fighters.


In December 2009, Cung Le (6-1) faced off against Scott Smith (17-6)

at Strikeforce-Evolution where fans witnessed Le dominate the better part of two and a half rounds of action. His punches and kicks sent Smith crashing to the canvas on multiple occasions throughout the fight and Le seemed to have the fight all but locked up.


However, Le says that he did not listen to his corner that told him he simply just needed to go out in the third and final round to score points and take home the victory. He wanted to go out and finish the fight decisively but the problem is that Smith possesses one punch knockout power and at the 3:25 mark in the final round Smith ended the fight.


Back in San Jose (Le’s hometown), Le looks to even the score and give fans another exciting fight but with a different outcome this time around. According to Le, the 21-month layoff before the first fight provided more pressure than the re-match at hand.


“Getting back in the cage was nerve-racking after 20 months off. Now, I’m just really happy with my training, I know I did everything I could do to prepare for whatever strategy Scott Smith comes in with. Gameplans sometimes go out the window and you have to have a plan B or even plan C,” Le explained.


“Last time I said, 'ready or not here I come,' this time I’m ready and I’m coming. I’m in awesome shape with my speed, power, and angles, that’s the key right there. When Scott misses, I’m going to make him pay. Everytime he misses he’s going to have something in his face.”


Smith has made it no secret about his gameplan, which he says will be to come out aggressive in hopes of ending the fight via first round knockout. To hear Le tell it, being over aggressive can put you in a place you do not want to be and he is speaking from experience.


“Yep, a lot of pressure and get the knockout in the first round," Le said. "He’s been working with a boxing coach so I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to that. But one thing about going into the fight rushing in looking for the knockout is that the cardinal rule is that you’re going to screw yourself up.”


Smith has been very vocal about the re-match, which he says that if the tables were turned in the first fight that he likely would not of received a re-match like Le has and this time around he wants to finish Le in the first round.


When asked about the comments made by Smith, Le’s reaction was lively and he went into full detail on how he feels about such statements.


“You know it’s not like I wasn’t already motivated enough for this but it’s like this," Le said. "Scott Smith is Scott Smith because he gets beat up a little bit and comes back; that’s why they call him the comeback kid. Now, if he would’ve been beating me up for two rounds then I came back to knock him out he wouldn’t have that name.


“How does he know if I wouldn’t of given him the opportunity to come back and get the re-match if things were different. He doesn’t know that, he can’t speak for me. He should speak for himself instead of speaking for me. If the roles were reversed I would’ve accepted the fight because obviously if he were beating me for two and a half rounds then I must have been doing something wrong.”


Following up on the answer and going into further detail. Cung explained that while Smith may not of wanted the re-match he feels that it won’t disappoint and that Smith should be happy fighting someone of his level.


“Whatever he wants to say. Obviously, he didn’t want the re-match but he got the re-match," Le said. "The reason why there is a re-match is because there’s a lot of fights that look great on paper but when they put it on they’re a disappointment. Here, they know what Scott brings to the table and they know what I bring to the table. In a way, Scott is discrediting himself a little bit.


"With him fighting on this card, especially under Fedor and with all the places that are picking up this programming. He should be happy that he’s on this card fighting someone of my caliber rather than someone he can just go in and knock out. The promotion would never bring in a fight that wouldn’t excite people.”


In order to try and prevent Smith from being successful in the re-match, Le prepared with Javier Mendez at American Kickboxing Academy and brought in additional help as well.


“Javier Mendez had surgery (during camp) and I brought David Ali (boxing coach) in and he works with Nick Diaz, he’s spent time with the Freddy Roach camp helping and learning from Freddy Roach and I definitely learned a lot of great things from him,” Le said.


“I’ve just improved on everything I’m going to do and sit on punches. If he wants to rush and come in then feel free because that’s what happened to me. The good thing about this fight is that it could be a punch or a kick away from being over and that’s what people want to see.”


One problem that some fighters have faced in the past when having a full-time camp to prepare for such a highly anticipated fight is overtraining. However, Le explains that his team and his experienced coach have prepared him properly.


“Javier has got a lot of experience, he trains everyone from Cain Velasquez to Josh Thompson, (Josh) Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Mike Swick," Le said. "The camp has alot of guys and some up and coming guys too like Luke Rockhold. These guys are seasoned and train so well together. I feel like a beast.”


With that being said, Cung expresses how grateful he is to be not only a part of the sport but for all the people who support him.


“I wake up every day and feel grateful and happy to be apart of MMA. I’m grateful that I’m a part of the card and that I get to do what I love which is martial arts," Le said. "I get to do it for a great promotion in Strikeforce and a great promoter in Scott Coker.”


Last but not least, Le said, “God, for giving me life and the fans of MMA for the support. Cage Hero  (Walkout T), Clinch Gear (Signature Shorts), BR flooring, Full-Tilt, and Taking Care of Business because I plan on taking care of business.”