Cung Le called it a “lucky” punch that saw him knock out Rich Franklin at the UFC’s inaugural event in China, but it means the martial arts legend now puts his mark on a highlight reel which gives him his place in history.
The Vietnamese-American is 40. The clock is ticking. Indeed, while the Sanshou fighter disappears to make his next movie, he might consider it will never get better than this.
He marshalled a foot injury in training for this fight – so bruised was a bone in one of his feet, he had blood drawn out of it by an Eastern technique which was gruesome – and in round one here at the Cotai Arena in Macau, he rendered Franklin to tissue with a right hook on the money that rattled all the way to the cavernous casino at the Venetian Hotel Resort.
Forgive the Bondism – but this was truly Skyfall for Franklin.
Le’s American opponent, a former UFC middleweight champion himself, was cold before he hit the canvas – face first, his body slumped. What I’m getting at is that Le, renowned as a dangerous spinning top with hands and feet, may have just achieved what he set out to in arriving late – very late – in his career at the top of the MMA food chain in the UFC: stamping his mark.
This is not a call for his retirement, yet it might just be a brilliant way to bow out. Few fighters manage it thus.