Hi reddit, my name is Cung Le. I'm a refugee from Vietnam and I'm living the American dream of fighting on the highest level in the UFC and making studio movies and foreign films in China. The Grandmaster, The Man with the Iron Fists, Dragon Eyes, Bodyguards And Assassins, and A Certain Justice (which I just finished and it's in post right now) and I'm about to start another one called Targets. I'm happy to talk my training regimen, my diet, and my movie career... ask me some good questions. AMA!

proof https://twitter.com/CungLe185/status/372513002039164928

edit: thank you for all the great questions. Hit me up on twitter and I will try my best to get to any tweet questions you may still have. And thanks for checking out The Grandmaster this weekend when it opens Friday 8/30!

Comments: 655 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

bitcoin_lady176 karma

I come from /r/mma and I'm a big fan of your style, Mr. Le.

-Which fight would you say was your most impressive victory?

-Have you ever gotten into an altercation, at a bar or something, where your MMA training has come in handy?

-Which martial art do you think is the most under used in MMA that in your opinion could be effective?

-What did it feel like to knock out Rich Franklin and break my heart?

-What is your opinion about performance enhancing drugs?

-How do you feel about being the mentor for the first TUF China? Have you had a chance to see the Chinese TUF fighters in action? How do you think they will measure up against the current UFC roster?'

Your choices

-Benson VS Pettis 2 ?

-Jones VS Gustafsson ?

-St-Pierre VS Hendricks ?


-Weidman VS Silva 2 ?

CungLe326 karma

I would have to say my most impressive victory would be a toss up between Frank Shamrock and Rich Franklin. Against Frank it was just one of those great battles - we knew each other's styles and we didn't want to give up for anything and the only reason he gave up was because i broke his arm with a kick. And with Rich I went in there not 100% physically but I was mentally ready for him.

I actually have been very fortunate, I have been able to walk away from most of the problems that I have come across without hurting anyone.

I would have to say every martial art has its good and its bad. It's actually the person behind the martial art that makes it effective. You have to be able to practice with several different elements to be able to compete in MMA because it's like all the martial arts pub together.

Well I didn't mean to break anyone's heart. I was just there to win! It was a really awesome feeling to get that win in that way and that fast.

Performance-enhancing drugs for people who abuse it or use it when their levels are already high, I feel it is cheating, but if they have a true doctor's prescription because their levels are low or they have to use it for recovery. There are certain doctors who give prescriptions for people who don't really need it and they use it and that is wrong, but for the people who do need it, are you going to tell a person who needs insulin not to take it? It's a prescription that comes from a legitimate doctor.

I think that China will need to work on their MMA game, I think there are a lot of GREAT martial artists in China but they just need to be educated and experience this level of fighting with so many different elements to win. I think they will need time to get caught up to the level of competition in UFC.


Gosh, that fight is a toss up. You flip a coin and heads or tails, it depends on who is on that day, because any one of those guys can beat each other.

Definitely Jones.

I believe St Pierre. He has been champion so long, and he looks like he is hungry to stay champion. I like both fighters but I think St-Pierre will outscore and outpoint. But Hendricks has the puncher's chance, and it comes down to who fights smarter.

Well actually I picked Weidman in the first fight, but in the second fight I'm going to go with Silva. I think the beast got woke up.

Floormaster84137 karma

Did you mind that the UFC wants you to be the "face" for mma in china given that your not chinese?

CungLe656 karma

I think I am Asian, and how I represent myself means I think I am the best candidate. And plus I speak English and I am learning to speak Chinese right now - I am on level 2 of the Rosetta stone so watch out.

woola96 karma

who's your next UFC's opponent?

CungLe307 karma

well we were in discussion about fighting Michael Bisping, but instead UFC asked me to go to China to do Ultimate Fighter China and be the mentor coach and the figurehead. I leave October 1st.

Nightst0ne90 karma

I had no idea they were trying to develop this market, could be huge. While you're there, if you accidentally stumbled into a Kumite, would you fight?

CungLe418 karma

No I wouldn't. I have to honor my contract with the UFC. And I'm not that crazy to go and enter in some crazy Kumite. But if my kid or my wife were kidnapped, I would definitely do it.

Neh482 karma

I don't have any questions, Cung, but I wanted to tell you that I am a huge fan and that you are my greatest inspiration that got me into MMA. Thank you for doing this.

CungLe119 karma

my pleasure.

Mijinion81 karma

Cung Le, you are without a doubt, my all-time favorite martial artists. I’ve been watching your matches since 2006, and you straight-up inspire me with your dedication to training your body, technique, and your raw resiliency. Pretty much, you’re one of my heroes man. I’ve always wanted to ask you, because I’ve always wanted to learn Muay Thai and participate in MMA myself, what piece of advice could you give to someone wanting to learn, and what is your best way to stay motivated? Thanks so much.

CungLe154 karma

Just keep an open mind and don't just stick to Muay Thai but try to experience as many different martial arts as you can. take the best and leave what you don't think will be helpful and just run with that knowledge.

And how I stay motivated? I wake up every day and I realized I am blessed with a new day. And I have a roof over my head. And i never want to complain about anything I can do or can't do.

FireFlyz35174 karma

You were The USA Sanda head coach awhile back how is the U.S. and Sanda? I trained with the current head coach Yi-Yuan Lee for a small time, and felt like he was very unorganized as the head coach.

CungLe146 karma

All your thoughts are completely correct and that is why the US team is not doing good.

shootemupsideway60 karma

What was it like working with RZA on 'The Man With The Iron Fists'?

CungLe90 karma

RZA was amazing to work with. He kept it fun on set and he was a good director.

Bat_turd49 karma

Can you explain your diet? :)

CungLe145 karma

My diet: offseason or when I am not training for a fight throughout the day I have three or four really good meals, and then do one or two bad (cheat) meals. On-season it is very strict, every week I have six meals of either asparagus, a white fish called Tilapia or salmon or steak. So 3 of my meals are Tilapia, the other 2 meals are salmon, and the last is an 8 ounce steak with either asparagus or broccoli. And three of the meals will have sweet potatoes or brown rice. And then of course vegetables and fruits which I put through the juicer or the blender.

Most of my products are organic, as are my supplements from Garden of Life.

Kuntzman49 karma

How many more fights before your retire. I don't want you to retire soon.

CungLe111 karma

I'm taking it one fight at a time, and right after the Rich Franklin I had to get a few surgeries on my elbow and I had to recover properly so that I could not re-injure it. So I took the right rehab and did everything the doctor asked and I'm almost at 100%. I would have done the Michael Bisping fight in October but the universe had other plans. It is what it is.

Kuntzman72 karma

You, Dan Henderson, Randy Couture and Bernard Hopkins are the only ones who can kick ass at 40. You are one of the best.

CungLe79 karma

Thank you!

brucewanabe42 karma

Any plan to make a movie with Johnny Tri Nguyen in Vietnam or here in the US, Cung? What is it like to work with Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung in the Grand Master. It's pretty cool to see you incorporate the Vietnamese Martial Art's move 'scissor kick' in your movies and in the ring. Would love to take your photos if you ever need some photos taken Cung. www.haihophotos.com

CungLe60 karma

I was taling with Johnny about doing a movie with him, but the last movie he did in Vietnam he ran into some problems with the Vietnamese government so that will be on hold.

Well I got a chance to work with Tony, not Zhang, but he is an amazing actor and he definitely dedicated himself. He spent 3 years learning Wing Chun to learn the part, so he is a very hard worker, and he is a very good actor.

EloquentMumbling41 karma


CungLe47 karma

I've never seen the Spinning Bird Kick.

FormlessD38 karma

Some questions from someone who started martial arts because of you

  1. When you were younger you traveled to martial arts competitions in a bunch of different styles. How did you manage to do this and what was it like being an amateur martial artist?

  2. What advice can you give to someone wanting to coach martial artists in the future (Specifically combat sports)? How important is it to get fights under your belt and what kind of things did you do to set up your school originally?

  3. Sanshou in the US is basically dead, why is this? Is it worth bringing back and how would you do it?

  4. How do you like to set up your side kicks?

P.S. pls make Clinch Gear bring back your signature shorts

CungLe71 karma

1 Yes when I was younger I did a lot of traveling to a lot of different states to compete in Martial arts. How I did it was that I would walk around to different blocks (miles and miles) to get $5 here, a dollar there, and ask for a donation or a sponsor. I did a lot of fundraisers that way and I guess that was how I got to travel around and compete. And at the world championships, the US government does not support the kung fu team (because we are not professional) so we had to raise our own sponsorship money.

2 For me I grew up and I was fortunate enough to get a lot of different coaching from different coaches and I took what is best and most effective and most useful and just made it my own and at the same time, I was good at coaching and teaching, so I feel fortunate to be able to compete at the highest level and coach at the highest level. I was the US Sanda team coach in 2003 and 2005 and I produced the most medal winners, including a gold medal winner, which the US had never won at the world championships before. Ever since then no one has really placed at the world championships since I stopped coaching.

3 It's difficult here because of the federation. The people who run the show in the United States don't care about the athletes they just care about themselves and there is just too much politics. But in other countries it's big.

4 After so many years of doing it ... I can't give out all my secrets but it's accurate when I throw it and it connects at the right spot, so it's the proper training.

I'm now sponsored by the UFC so I'm not part of Clinch Gear anymore so the signature shorts, maybe you can contact Clinch Gear they might have a few extra!

xtremo2330 karma

Has there ever been a very interesting fight offer that you either turned down or just didn't happen?

CungLe55 karma

There was one interesting fight after I beat the Chinese best fighter - they called him the Mongolian King. A few years later, there was a guy (I don't know how to spell his name) Lu Hai Lung and we were supposed to try to come to an agreement to fight and it never happened.

For MMA, the best fight that came together was the Shamrock fight and it worked out great.

Nightst0ne30 karma

What is your go to martial arts movie from the 80s, "Best of the Best" or "Bloodsport"?

CungLe63 karma

Wow they are both good. But I would have to say flip of a coin. Different story. One is more sports, and the other is more underground... but I'm going to have to say "Bloodsport." But I love "Best of the Best" too.

jack3d--29 karma

Hey Cung,

I met you when you came to Columbus and did a training session at ronin it really inspired me. My question is what advice can you give to someone trying to make it into the ufc?

Also I know sheeley, would he be the best guy to get me there?

CungLe62 karma

My advice is to get as many amateur fights as you can, then when you turn pro get as many pro fights with wins as you can, and then when UFC has tryouts at your weight, try to get to those open workouts (or "auditions") and make a statement and get in.

Yup, Sheeley is the best guy to get you in.

MarcMMA27 karma

How do you study your opponents?

CungLe67 karma

Now in UFC you ask for tapes of your opponent and you study their last 3-5 fights. I just look for certain patterns that they do. And then I capitalize on it.

aaronptrsn26 karma

Mr. Le, How do you think of the moves you pull off in and out of the ring? Some (most)of them are just unreal to try for most.You are a Jedi fighter!

CungLe88 karma

There is a Yoda picture on my instagram and my Twitter so maybe I am! I've said this before but I think that God has a joystick and he is just playing a game with me as a character.

dougefreshh125 karma

Favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the Bay Area? I saw you at Pho Kim Long couple of years ago

CungLe41 karma

That is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the Bay Area! That and Tamarine which is like Vietnamese / French fusion in Palo Alto.

asegal13623 karma

What was it like working on the movie Fighting? I found it entertaining but somewhat over dramatized. I should thank you though because you indirectly helped me win a copy of the movie. Live Audio Wrestling, a radio show here in Toronto asked which MMA fighter stars in Fighting and I knew the answer was you. So thanks!

CungLe63 karma

Oh nice! Working on the movie was actually very fun. Channing is a great guy and very down to earth, we became very good friends. I went to his wedding and he came to mine, I got drunk at his bachelor party and had a great time and I just recently met up with him. He is going to come out with some great movies (big ginormous blockbusters) very soon.

edb13523 karma

What advice would you give to Rousey, who plans on shooting Expendables 3 whilst training for her upcoming title defense?

CungLe52 karma

My advice to Rousey is make sure your whole team is with you and be prepared for long hours. And as soon as you have downtime, get your workout in. I'm sure the shoot is not going to be 2 months long, so she shouldn't have too much to worry about - it is actually good to take a week off here and there from regular training to let your body bounce back.

freebornet22 karma

My fav food is PHO. How do you like yours prepared?

CungLe48 karma

I like Pho with steak strips with rice noodles and beef broth. Or rice noodles with chicken breast and chicken broth.

NorbitGorbit22 karma

which sports would you say are more dangerous than MMA that would surprise people?

CungLe50 karma

I think in football there are a lot more injuries than MMA. Because there are 11 guys on the field and a lot of times they are very big and when you get hit you are blindsided (or they try to block you or block you low on your knees) and so you get more injuries than MMA.

NorbitGorbit11 karma

would you come out in favor of teaching MMA in school instead of football?

CungLe39 karma

I think they should teach both. I think football is a great sport and I always wanted to play it when I was younger, but when you do MMA it is martial arts at the highest level and maybe the kids who don't stick with mixed martial arts they will be better athletes as a result of their training and you will have Superbowl champs that have MMA training.

phweeeee22 karma

Who's down voting everything in here?

My question: Mr Cung Le, whats your favorite kung fu or martial arts movie from when you were growing up.

CungLe70 karma

My favorite martial arts movie was "Enter the Dragon."

raayzo20 karma

Will you star in the next Fast & Furious film? I hear they're taking it back to Tokyo

CungLe215 karma

Right now I don't have an offer (at all) and how I see is that a lot of the Asian stereotypes as characters are either the henchmen or the computer nerd or the guy in the back who gets killed and for me, I'm going to focus on different projects that will empower Asian leads and take it to another level by having scripts written for me. What the audience likes to see in different genres like action-horror, action-scifi, action-comedy, I am putting it all together. And I have even tried to write an action horror scifi script with a writing partner of mine, John Lee Brody, and be prepared to watch action at its best and watch out world!

unknownx9319 karma

Donnie Yen did an amazing job portraying Ip Man already, how similar will the story of Ip Man be in The Grandmaster be to his. Were you hesitant to be involved knowing a successful movie had already been done.

CungLe23 karma

Not at all because working with Wong Kar-wai and Master Woo-Ping you are going to have an amazing movie. And I feel that the Weinstein company would not have picked it up had they not felt like it could have a chance for running for best foreign film at the Academy like what they did with Crouching Tiger.

TyroneBiggums9317 karma

what exercises would you say are the best for building explosiveness and power that translate well in the octagon?

CungLe38 karma

Definitely hill charges, and explosive weightlifting. And of course using your body weight.

OG_HOOD_NIGA17 karma


CungLe26 karma

How you train is how you should be able to fight, and so that is how I train, how I fight and what I do in my movies.

Eonn16 karma

I'm a long time fan and I went to high school with your sister. I've watched many of your fights as you transitioned to MMA.

How does UFC compare to Strikeforce in terms of competition? Would you say UFC is a lot better/harder?

What's your take on women entering the MMA world?

CungLe31 karma

Well I would not say - because look at how good Strikeforce fighters are doing transitioning into MMA. But MMA divisions are so stacked, while Strikeforce divisions if they have a couple of good fighters, where for each MMA division there are a handful of really good fighters in each one.

Actually, the women are definitely competitive candidates and their fights are very exciting. I love watching the women fight in UFC and other leagues because they come to fight.

HSimpson81815 karma

Who is your favorite Simpson's character?

CungLe30 karma

Bart Simpson.

RealGMod14 karma

Cung, what do you think of hyped fighter Uriah Hall? Dana White suggested that he's not a fighter since he's too friendly and isn't serious enough. You both have had bullying stories and have an exciting style of fighting. Do you think you could take him under your wing and make him a great UFC fighter? Seems like he needs a new camp and I think you could be that missing link for him.

CungLe44 karma

You know, I think Uriah Hall has a great camp. He is training with Mark and I just think it comes down to taking more risks when he fights. He has a lot of tools and a lot of good tricks, and he needs to go out there and look for big head kicks and big knockouts, fight like it is his last fight. For me, I fight like someone is trying to take food off of my kid's plate and I just become vicious.

a_reverse_cowboy11 karma


CungLe19 karma

Oh yea, there are plenty of athletes in China that are high level. The key thing now is just to get the government behind and supporting MMA and definitely UFC should be able to do that.

Yea I believe China will make the transition.

I give 185% in everything I do, so thank you!

DabMonger10 karma

  • How long have you been an actor?
  • How long have you been studying MA?
  • How many forms or disciplines pf MA do you know?
  • Which is your favorite and why?

CungLe24 karma

I would have to say I started in 2005, but I always wanted to do martial arts movies when I was young since I watched "Enter the Dragon."

I've been studying martial arts on and off since I was 10 years old.

I started with tae kwon do, then I went to traditional / Vietnamese style kung fu, then I went to Sambo, then I mixed in thai and western-style boxing and I also believe that wrestling is a martial art in and of itself. I wrestled collegiate, greco-roman and I competed in karate tournaments and different types of martial arts tournaments and I have a blue belt in Brazilian Ju Jitsu.

I don't have a favorite. I'm always a student of the game and the martial arts.

andrewinmelbourne10 karma

Have you ever been to Australia?

CungLe21 karma

No, I have not been to it but I definitely want to go to Australia.

pressthebutt0n9 karma

I'm a Sanda fighter in Toronto Canada and I was wondering what your take on why Sanda has such a hard time flourishing in North America and did you have to make some adjustments from Sanda to MMA in terms of your stand up game.

CungLe17 karma

When it came to it, I just really had to prepare myself in jiu jitsu and be ready. I was very fortunate because I enjoy learning martial arts so much that I didn't think about how tough it was transitioning, and obviously I transitioned over well.

arbitraryentry8 karma

What movie do you love to watch for its fight choreography?

CungLe28 karma

I like to watch a lot of Donny Yin movies, and Master Woo Ping movies... And the early Tony Jaa movies. But now I got my own style: I choreographed Dragon Eyes and Certain Justice. On both, I did have help from my trainer Scott Sheeley who is trained in a lot of different martial arts and we work together as a team.

(on a side note I do a lot of choreography for the films I do - where the action coordinator or the fight coordinator will ask what I think, and then it makes it onscreen but I don't get credit. But that's ok).

DirkMyDiggler8 karma

Are you going to be in the new ea sports UFC video game?? And who is your favorite boxer??(I'm one myself)

CungLe28 karma

I am going to be in the new EA Sports UFC video game ! At the UFC expo I did a bunch of pictures and graphics for them so play my character. My favorite boxer, gosh there are so many I enjoy to watch but I would have to say back in the day, Micky Ward, and then now I would have to say Pacman and Mayweather.

darrennguyen7 karma

What do you do immediately before and after a fight?

CungLe20 karma

Before a fight, I'm always dieting and cutting weight and cutting back on fats. After the fight, eat a lot and just spend time with the kids and the family.

iTransta7 karma

What is your average caloric intake? Any highly recommended supplements?

CungLe23 karma

When I am training for a fight, 4 of my 6 meals will have sweet potatoes and brown rice. I never count calories. I burn a lot of calories because I train so much and so hard every time I train. I never eat until I am full. I only eat until I am satisfied.

The supplements that I use are from Garden of Life mainly, although I use some Whole Foods brand. You can look up @CungLee185 to find the Garden of Life Twitter handle.

TetraHydroFreeForAll6 karma

What's your favorite color?

CungLe11 karma

Blue and red.