Thanh Le, Garry Tonon
ONE featherweight king Thanh Le (left) retained his title by knocking out Garry Tonon (right) in the first round of their main event matchup at ONE: Lights Out. ONE Championship


  • Thanh Le wants to prove his ground game is just as good as his striking
  • Le earned his black belt under the tutelage of grappling wizard Ryan Hall
  • Tang Kai's striking could run into a wall against Le

The ONE featherweight championship will be on the line in the co-main event of ONE 160 on August 26 as Thanh Le looks to take down another challenger, this time in the form of unstoppable Chinese knockout artist Tang Kai.

Both men are undefeated thus far into their mixed martial arts (MMA) careers with ONE Championship as Le has strung together five wins, all via knockout, while Tang has three knockout wins in five fights.

At first glance, one would think that Le would stand toe-to-toe with Tang since he also has a proven knockout power, but it might not be the smartest thing to do since the Dragon Warrior Shanghai representative has the ability to put him to sleep as well.

Le believes that this would be the opportune time for him to change things up and showcase something new to ONE Championship fans: his jiu-jitsu.

"Obviously, I'm a striker dude in the cage, but I'm a Jiu-Jitsu guy, too," Le said in a recent interview.

"You can't fight without knowing Jiu-Jitsu–you're just going to get mauled. [When I started, I was] like, 'Okay, let's learn this art, this thing that people want us to do.' And then, just like I knew I would, I fell in love with it because it's a wonderful martial art."

In his last title defense, Le was not able to showcase his skills on the mat as he faced one of the most formidable grapplers under the Singapore-based combat sports promotion's banner in the form of Garry Tonon.

The then-No.2 featherweight attempted to get Le off his game by going on the offensive early, hoping to catch the champion making a single mistake.

However, it was Tonon who would create the error for himself after he tried to surprise Le by pulling guard and going after a leg lace submission.

Le was not vexed at all with Tonon's attempt and would later knock him out with ground-and-pound from the top position–everything happening in under a minute.

Against a prominent striker like Tang who also has one-punch knockout power in his hands, Le hinted that he might be leaning towards his jiu-jitsu roots a little bit more in the upcoming fight.

"Who knows, maybe we get a little grappling in on this fight. Let's see [Tang] throw one of those double-legs, and see how it ends up for him," Le warned.

Le will surely be waiting to unleash his bag of tricks against Tang if the opportunity presents itself as he earned his black belt under the guidance of UFC fighter and grappling wizard Ryan Hall back in June.

Tang, for as great a striker he is in his young career, will need to tread carefully against Le if he wants to stand a chance of pulling the upset.

ONE 160 will take place on August 26 at 6:30 PM SGT (6:30 AM ET) with the headlining fight featuring a grudge match between Ok Rae Yoon and Christian Lee for the lightweight championship.

Thanh Le
Thanh Le proudly holds his ONE featherweight title after taking it via knockout from Martin Nguyen at ONE: Inside the Matrix on October 30, 2020. ONE Championship