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Cung Le: The Right Thing for Me To Do Is to Vacate the Title

Cung Le has vacated the Strikeforce middleweight belt following 18 months of competitive inactivity since beating Frank Shamrock for the title.

The decision came after Le signed on to star in his own action movie vehicle that will prevent him from fighting in the near future. Tied down to the film commitments and training his teammates, Le tells FanHouse in this exclusive interview that the right thing to do was to vacate the title to allow other contenders to wear the belt in his absence.

Ray Hui: How hard was it for you to have to tell Scott Coker that you would have to vacate the title?

Cung Le: It is very hard. I work very hard and I've been fighting for a long time and I'm very proud of the Strikeforce middleweight belt that I got. And at the same time as a martial artist, out of respect for all the competitors in the middleweight division (who are) fighting for that opportunity to fight for the title, I feel that at this time I can't defend my title because of everything that I got going on right now, because it would be November, the CBS show with Fedor. So I think the right thing to do is to vacate the title so they can fight for the true middleweight title, because I don't think it's right for them to fight for an interim title while I'm running off doing movies and promoting the movie -- I'm in Pandorum, and my other projects I got going on. I feel for me out of respect for all the other middleweight contenders that I need to take a step back.

Has Coker indicated that you'll get an immediate title shot upon return?

I definitely got to prove myself when I come back – at least one or two fights, right? I'm sure if I have a great performance on my return fight, I would hope that I would get a title shot. I know what it takes to be a champion and I know what it takes to work hard again and start from a couple steps back and I'm willing to do that.

What's the soonest you could be fighting?

I'm hoping early next year.

Frank Shamrock said today that he's looking at a December/January return for a fight against either you or Nick Diaz.

For me it'd be awesome if I could pick my own opponents. I do have a say on who my opponents are but I just try to do my job and I let my trainer, manager and promoter do their job, and if they think it's a fight that can sell they would put it together and hopefully everyone can make some money.

How do you see the Jason "Mayhem" Miller vs. Jake Shields title fight playing out?

I think if it goes down to the ground, "Mayhem" is at a disadvantage and if it stays standing Jake Shields is at a disadvantage. I don't know, let's see who comes in at A form and I think it's going to be a pretty good fight. I hope their fight doesn't get overshadowed by the Fedor and Rogers which I believe most likely will happen.

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