After turning 40 this past May, Cung Le feels the toll a long fighting career has taken on his body.
Does he feel them enough to think about hanging up the gloves to focus 100 percent on his other passion, movies? Le (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) isn't sure – but he does know he sure would like his first UFC win before retirement.
"We'll see (about retirement)," Le told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I never look ahead. I'm one of those guys, I'm in the moment. Every day I wake up is a blessing. I have this day, and I'm going to live in this day. I can't look toward tomorrow because tomorrow's not promised."
But a fight against Patrick Cote (17-7 MMA, 4-7 UFC) is promised for Le, and it will take place Saturday on the main card of UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
After looking good early against Wanderlei Silva this past Novemeber at UFC 139, only to lose by TKO late in the second round, Le wants one thing more than ever – a win in the UFC.
"If I cry (if I win) – Im going to try not to," said Le, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion. "That's how big it would be. It's a big deal (to me to get my first UFC win).
"I don't need to impress, but I don't know how to just win. I strike like lightning and I follow by thunder. May the storm hit hard. That's me. Go big or go home, baby."
Le is more than a 2-to-1 underdog against Cote, who returns to the Octagon after putting together a four-fight win streak outside the promotion. Cote steps in for Rich Franklin, who was pulled from the fight with Le to face Silva at UFC 147.
Le said he was disappointed to not be able to face Franklin in what would have been a bout between former champions. But he believes Cote will be a good challenge.
"I was really bummed when Rich got pulled out," Le said. "But it happens. The UFC needed to save that card, and I think it was a really good fight for the Brazilian fans. I'm just glad I'm still a part of this (card). (I liked the fight with Franklin because) he's got a big name. He's a grinder. I like Rich as a guy – he's a really cool guy, and I think we'd make a great fight.
"But looking at the card, I think Patrick Cote and myself could be more of an explosive fight."
As for starting to wind down at 40, Le said there's no worry that he's just going through the motions. And he cautioned that if Cote believes he is, broken bones could be the result.
"I enjoy fighting. That's why I'm doing it," Le said. "But I'm not here just because I enjoy fighting. I'm here to win, and I expect to win this fight against Patrick Cote. He's a very confident guy – almost cocky. And that's good. But you get overconfident, you might end up with a shinbone to your head, or to your arm like Frank Shamrock. So watch out."