Is Cung Le the most underrated middleweight in the UFC?

While lacking substantial marketability in the UFC, Cung Le is one of the greatest rising MMA fighters the promotion has to offer.

He has been the betting underdog in two of his last three fights – he pulled off victories in two. In his most notable bout he halted the comeback of Rich Franklin with a career traumatizing first round KO.

Concluding a career in Kickboxing, Cung Le decided to test his worth in the enticing sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). He went 6-0 in Strikeforce prior to a stunning loss to Scott Smith – which he quickly avenged two fights and two more victories later before retreating to the UFC.

While lacking the materialistic benefits for the UFC, Cung hasn’t failed to entertain and impress the hardcore mixed martial arts community. Distracted from a high-profile acting career, Le unfortunately lost his UFC debut against Wanderlei Silva due to a series of hellacious knees in round 2. He has since returned more focused than ever with eye-opening victories to Franklin and Patrick Cote.

If his cardio held up a bit better during his UFC debut against “The Axe Murderer”, “The Man with the Iron fist” would likely be 3-0 in the promotion.

His fight with Cote was a demonstration of his improvement and focus, careful punch-placing allowed him to showcase his world class striking skills over three rounds to win a 30-27 decision.

He also impressed the blood n’ guts side of the sport with one right hand that knocked out former world middleweight champion Rich Franklin less than two minutes into their Fuel TV televised collision. It was a perfectly timed low-kick on the aging warrior that set up one of the best knockouts of last year.

Albeit inexperienced in the sport of MMA, Le has phenomenal striking skills and underrated grappling skills. He can give any UFC fighter a run for his money.

You can grant credit to Le’s striking skills to his undermined background in Sanshou, where he spent many years developing his unorthodox killer-KO kickboxing ability. He was the IKF (International Kickboxing Federation), but he also has shown few dents in his grappling skills.

Given his decent takedown defense, some of MMA’s top wrestlers will struggle to topple the Vietnamese warrior.

With the Franklin scrapping, Le should be able to challenge his worth in that form – against a top ten UFC Middleweight.


Original article by David King

Rewritten by Corey Quincy

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