After 15 hard-fought minutes, the 40-year old Le, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, got the decision from the judges, getting 30-27 scores across the board.
In the opening round, Le kept Cote from finding his range for the most part by using his varied kicks to set up combos. The second round was the closest of the fight, a back-and-forth sprint in which both fighters landed heavy blows and ended with each bleeding heavily. The pace slowed in the third, but Le landed the better strikes and scored a pair of takedowns to boot.
The victory was the first for Le (10-2) in the UFC, a former San Shou and kickboxing standout. When pressed by Joe Rogan in his postfight interview, he wouldn't say whether he'd retired.
"I feel great, a little tired, I want to do a backflip and I don't have the energy," Le said. "I pushed it, he has a hard head, I hurt my foot on it. One goal reached and another overcome. I'm going back to the drawing board. For all the 40 year-olds, I did it for you guys."