5 Minutes With Cung Le

I understand you surf. Catch any big waves lately?


I used to boogie board a lot when I was younger. No time now.


What’s the hardest you’ve ever hit someone?


Arne Soldwedel, in the Shidokan finals. It was in the 7th round and there were two more to go, and I didn’t think I was gonna make it past the end of the round because I was really exhausted. That was my third fight. He kept coming forward. When he threw a punch, I slipped it, came up, and threw a blind right hand that caught him, and he went through the ropes.


What bands get you pumped up during training?


A combination of Metallica and Linkin Park.


What’s your favorite board game?


Parcheesy.A little competition with the wife! We’re not competitive with each other, but it’s fun at the right times.


What strikers do you enjoy watching in the sport?


I enjoy watching Anderson Silva fight—when he’s actually fighting—and Lyoto Machida.


Do you feel that guys like yourself and Machida have paved the way for traditional martial arts in MMA?


Definitely. We’ve made some noise for the way traditional martial artists are viewed.


Where’s the best place to eat in San Jose?


My favorite restaurant is this Vietnamese soup restaurant—Pho Kim Long—on Santana Row.


Who is your main acting inspiration?


Denzel Washington and Ben Foster, who I got a chance to work with. He’s pretty intense.


How hard is it to pull your punches in movies?


It’s not that hard. I’ve been pulling my punches training with students for the longest time. In the movies, it’s not that hard when you’re surrounded by a lot of good stunt guys. They sell your punches for you.


Is Hollywood impressed because you’re a legit tough guy?


Definitely. Being a real MMA fighter earns you a lot of respect.


Which MMA fighter do you think would be a good actor that hasn’t had any roles yet?


Probably Josh “The Punk” Thomson.


You’re known as a striker, but people forget that you have a wrestling background. Who are some grapplers you enjoy watching?


Marcelo Garcia. He has come to my gym a few times, and he’s a pleasure to watch.


What do you feel is the most under utilized part of training?


Stretching. People don’t stretch enough. Also, getting massages.


What’s the most rewarding part of being a father?


Watching the kids grow and learn. And definitely when—out of nowhere—they say, “I love you Dad.”


Are your sons pretty competitive?


My oldest is nine years old, and he’s a blue belt. And my youngest is five years old, and he just got his yellow belt—it’s a never-ending story here at home. They’re always competing against each other. When I turn my back, one’s hitting the other. They enjoy playing around. They’re just boys.


Would you ever fight Frank Shamrock again?


Absolutely. He gave me a shot at the title. If he wanted a rematch, I would definitely give it to him.


Any last words for fans?


Thanks for all the support.

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