My next fight on July 7 against Patrick Cote is all about showing the true me to the fans of the UFC. I want to go out there and show I can compete and win at this level. There are still many things I'd like to do and achieve in mixed martial arts and, in order to do so, I have to put in a great performance on July 7. There is no other option, as far as I'm concerned.Thankfully, my camp has been excellent to this point. Training has always been a part of my life, and I still enjoy it. Sometimes you get up in the morning a little banged up and sore, and you don't want to train, but those days are few and far between. For the most part, I still love to get up and train and also learn. Learning is a huge part of why I still compete in mixed martial arts. I feel as though I learn something new about this sport each and every time I complete a training session. That keeps me motivated and hungry for more.
The switch in opponent – from Rich Franklin to Cote - obviously hasn't been ideal, but it hasn't been impossible to work around, either. The main problem I encountered was going from using southpaw sparring partners to then switching it up and going in with orthodox sparring partners. Franklin is a southpaw who uses his length really well, whereas Cote is orthodox and a bit more aggressive. He comes forward and has a great chin. While the game plan hasn't changed all that much from one opponent to the other, I'm wary of different things now and am performing different moves to compensate for the change in style and stance.
Ultimately, we're focusing on what I do well as a fighter at this point in time and making sure I am in a position to showcase that on the night. Sometimes you can get too caught up in what an opponent does, especially when you experience a switch like this, and end up getting overwhelmed with instructions and game plans. The key is to know how to deal with certain things they do, but, more importantly than that, execute everything you're capable of doing.
[Related: Watch UFC 148 live on Yahoo! Sports]
The change in opponent didn't really come as too much of a shock, if I'm honest. UFC matchmaker Joe Silva called me and said Franklin was needed to save the main event at UFC 147, after another fighter was injured, and I totally understood. It was a good move on their part and Joe explained to me that it was all about taking care of immediate business and that I would be sorted with a new opponent shortly. A few days later he got back in touch and told me Patrick Cote would be the guy drafted in and that he would be a good opponent for me at this stage of my career. They said he was on a good win streak away from the UFC and had earned his chance again.
The fight instantly excited me. Styles make fights, and I think he matches up well with me. Also, I don't see it as a step down from Franklin or anything like that. To be honest, I felt Cote did better in his fight with Anderson Silva, the UFC middleweight champion who fights in the main event the night I fight, than Franklin did, and that alone clearly shows the guy has ability and a high threat level.
He's well-rounded and great with his hands. Some people criticize him for his wrestling and ground game, but he tends to keep fights standing simply because he's so good with his hands. If you're able to hurt, stun and knock people out with your fists, why take risks on the ground? Anyway, I'm sure he will have been working hard on his ground game during his time away from the UFC, and I've no doubt he will be a much improved fighter by the time we get round to fighting on July 7. He will see this as a huge opportunity and you'd be a fool to watch an opportunity like this just slip by. I'm expecting the best-ever Patrick Cote to confront me at UFC 148.
I'm a martial artist and I love to compete, and when I'm presented with a challenge - when my back is against the wall - I tend to respond. I feel like I've been presented with a good challenge in this fight and I know that losing isn't an option for me. As a result, I've been super motivated for this fight and have enjoyed a far better training camp than I did for my first UFC fight last November. If Cote is an improved fighter, then I am as well. I can safely say this is the best camp I've had since the Frank Shamrock fight and I'm very excited to show the UFC fans just what I can do inside the Octagon.
I’d love to hear from you on twitter @CungLe185
Martial arts superstar Cung Le makes his second UFC appearance on July 7 at UFC 148 when he takes on hard-hitting Patrick Cote, only on Pay-Per-View.
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