Cung Le vs Mike Altman

It was the year 2006 in San Jose, California and one of kickboxing’s most exciting fighters began his famed MMA career. Cung Le walked out to a screaming packed crowd of over 18,000 fans. The atmosphere at the sold out Hp Pavilion arena was electric. Despite having fought Altman before in kickboxing, Le did not under estimate his opponent or the new sport.

“MMA is a completely different game. So many different ways to win a fight but also many ways to lose. Mike had heavy hands and had two MMA fights under his belt so I just wanted to get into my zone and pick him apart instead of looking for the big KO for my first fight.” – Cung Le

(photo credit: sherdog.com)

Elite distance and timing

Utilizing elite distance and timing never before seen in the MMA world, Cung dominated every second of the fight. Never off balance or out of position Le put on a masters class of hit and don’t get hit. Watching the fight back it is difficult to find even five somewhat effective blows landed by his opponent.

Speed kills

By 3:51 in the first round Cung put together a kick followed by a right hand that was too fast for Altman to even react. This well placed punch dropped Mike dead in his tracks for a face dive on the canvas. Go back in time and witness Cung Le’s spectacular first win by way of a dramatic KO. Watch the full fight in the video below or click here.

Interview

MDW: Hello Cung it is an honor and a privilege to interview you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. We reached out to you because March, 10th will mark the 12th anniversary of your very first MMA fight. Please tell us after such a successful Sanda career what made you decide to try MMA?

CL: I had done all I could do in Sanda (Chinese full contact which includes boxing kicking low, middle, high, and take-downs/sweeps). My friends Javier Mendez & Scott Coker said I should try out MMA and fight on the first ever card in California. I agreed and the rest is history.

MDW: Fighting Mike Altman in San Jose on the Shamrock vs Gracie card is an amazing opportunity for a debut of a fighter. The Hp pavilion was jam packed with over 18,000 people in attendance. What was going through your mind? How did you deal with that kind of pressure?

CL: I was very excited to be the co main event and thought here is a chance for me to represent Traditional martial arts in the fastest growing sport in the world mixed martial arts MMA.

(photo credit: sherdog.com)

MDW: You dominated every second of the fight and landed some amazing shots. The final punch was crazy, it was timed off a kick and his bounce off the cage. That is some next level timing and accuracy. How the hell did you make that happen?

CL: I set Mike up with different punch kick combos that had him wondering what was coming next. So I hit him with step up spinning back-kick follow by the power punch.

(photo credit: sherdog.com)

MDW: This spectacular knock out win was the first of many for you. You seem to have the ability to just sleep people with well timed blows. When did you realize you had this kind of power? The majority of your knock out wins in Sanda was with your kicks. Did MMA open up more chances for you to land punches?

CL: Working with Javier he had me sit on my punches instead of using the punches just to set up the kicks. Then I started sitting on my punches. This gave me the double threat of finishing the fight with kicks or punches.

MDW: Looking back on this fight most people don’t know you actually fought Mike before in a kickboxing match. Having battled him prior did you worry he may have trained for your style? How did you prepare for the new MMA rule set?

CL: MMA is a completely different game. So many different ways to win a fight but also many ways to lose. Mike had heavy hands and had two MMA fights under his belt so I just wanted to get into my zone and pick him apart instead of looking for the big KO for my first fight.

(photo credit: sherdog.com)

MDW: This night really foreshadowed your path to a championship career. You won by KO and then went on to stop four more people in a row. Interestingly your eventual title fight was with the very man who headlined your debut card, Frank Shamrock. Did you have any clue that night you may some day fight Frank?

CL: I had the mindset of one fight at a time but the fight against Frank was in the back of my head when I entered the MMA world.

MDW: Thank you for answering questions about your first MMA fight for our readers. How can fans see what you are up to and follow your journey?

CL: All the fans can follow me at @CungLe185 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If you are in Asia you can follow me on Weibo. Don’t forget to visit my website www.CungLeOfficial.Com. Thank you to my fans for all the love and support over the years.