In the build-up to the rematch between Scott Smith and Cung Le, Smith’s manager Mike Roberts believed that a rubber match was guaranteed if his client lost.
“I told Strikeforce when we accepted this fight that if Scott were to lose, there was going to be a third fight,” Roberts told sherdog.com prior to the fight. “I don’t think Scott’s going to lose this fight, but if it were to happen, there’d have to be a rubber match.”
In the end the second fight played out much the same as the first, expect this time Le came out on top. He again dominated the striking, showing good movement and counter-striking in the first round, and then letting loose with his arsenal of kicks in the second, eventually connecting with a precise spinning back kick that slumped Smith to the canvas.
Over the course of the two bouts Le has shown that he is the superior fighter, and there’s unlikely to be a burning desire from fans to see a third encounter between the two.
It would appear that Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker agrees, and despite Smith’s manager’s claims Coker says that they are not obligated to put on a rubber match.
“It’s something that, as their careers go down the line, maybe there should be a rubber match at some point. We did have a conversation, but there wasn’t any commitment. It could happen. Certainly it could happen after another fight or two, but I think we’re going to be getting into the tournament business and we have another path to take.”
So it appears that Cung Le is now destined for the rumored eight-man middleweight tournament that Strikeforce are putting together if and when current champion Jake Shields vacates his title to head for the UFC.
Le hasn’t confirmed that he wants to be part of this set-up yet though.
“I haven’t had a chance to think past this fight to any tournament. It’s been a rough week for me. I just had a baby boy. My wife was in labor for 14 hours and she had an emergency C-section because the cord was wrapped around the neck, so her being in the operating room on Monday, it was very draining. I was exhausted until, like, Thursday. I just dug deep and went in here, I knew I was in shape, and I got about four or five hours of sleep yesterday, so it had been a rough week.”
The fighter also has more movie roles in the pipeline which potentially could interfere with his participation in the tournament set-up. He did however state earlier this week that he can’t keep fighting forever so he wants to take the opportunity to do so while he still can.
If for any reason he opts out of the tournament then there’s no doubt that Scott Smith will be more than happy to step into his place.