Any martial arts fan in the 90’s, 2000’s, and even early 2010’s would’ve known about Cung Le.
Despite entering the sport of MMA at the late age of 35, Cung Le had a very successful kickboxing and Sanda career, going undefeated at 17-0 with multiple prestigious titles.
He fought in some of the biggest promotions such as K-1 and Strikeforce, and his world-class kickboxing and Sanda background helped him easily transition into MMA.
He started his MMA career in Strikeforce, and he made easy work of his competition. In the process, he won the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship against legend Frank Shamrock, and he tied with Luke Rockhold for the most finishes in Strikeforce history.
Although his run with the UFC was short-lived due to false accusations of performance enhancing substance use, Cung Le had a decorated MMA career and overall fight career.
What makes Cung Le stand out among most MMA fighters is his flashy but effective fighting style. Thanks to his Taekwondo background, Cung Le brought excitement to his fights with his trademark spinning techniques.
Such style, paired with his MMA success, also led to an extensive acting career, allowing Cung Le to work alongside some big names such as Yuen Woo-Ping, Donnie Yen, and Channing Tatum to name a few. So without further ado, let’s take a look at Cung Le’s Top 3 Signature MMA Moves!
1. Spinning Back Fist
The first move we have on our list is the spinning back fist. The most common way Cung Le sets up this technique is with the sidekick to the body. In other words, he uses a mid-side-kick to spinning-back-fist combination.
Most notably, he utilized this set up in his UFC debut to drop Wanderlei Silva in the first round.
With the sidekick to the body, Le distracts his opponent and causes him to drop his guard. This opens up the face for the spinning back fist.
The momentum from landing the side kick also transitions into the spin and rotation that give the spinning back fist its power.
This is not the only set up Cung Le has used for the spinning back fist, however. Instead of using the side kick, Cung Le also used a high round kick in the same direction or a hook kick to set up the spinning back fist, as seen in his fight against Frank Shamrock.
2. Spinning Back Kick
The spinning back kick is perhaps Cung Le’s most used signature move. He’d usually set up the spinning back kick with a step-in one-two punch.
From a southpaw stance, Le would do a right jab, then step into an Orthodox stance with the left cross.
This caused his opponent to not only move back, but also hold up their hands. Such a reaction created the distance for the back kick and opened up the back kick to the mid-section.
This is Cung Le’s most used set up as he frequently landed the back kick on his opponents several times with this approach. He has also used this combination to finish Scott Smith in their second meeting.
3. Spinning Hook Kick
This is arguably the flashiest among Cung Le’s repertoire of MMA moves.
Cung Le sets this move up with the jab. The jab causes the opponent to shell up. Even though the opponent’s hands are up, he would most likely be guarding only the front of his face.
Since MMA gloves are small, this guard still opens up the sides of the opponent’s head, which is the primary target for the spinning hook kick.
Cung Le has used other set-ups for the spinning hook kick. For example, he would use the spinning back kick to the mid-section to land the spinning hook kick up high.
This is also a set-up he used against many opponents. Furthermore, he could also fake a roundhouse kick and land a spinning hook kick in the same direction, as seen in his fight against Tony Fryklund.
Bonus Move: Scissor Kick / Sweep
Although Cung Le never used this move in his MMA career, he used it quite often in his Sanda and kickboxing years.
The common set-up is with the sidekick. Cung Le would throw a sidekick, and with the same motion, he would trick his opponents into thinking another side kick would be coming, and he would use this moment to land the scissor kick/sweep.