Interview with Thanh Le above
Ever since joining ONE Championship in 2019, Thanh Le has compiled one of the most violent highlight reels in promotional history.
He eventually captured the featherweight title by knocking out Martin Nguyen last October at ONE: Inside The Matrix. Although defending the belt is a priority, Le sees a few other options on the table.
Chatri Sityodtong, founder and CEO of ONE Championship, has presented the idea of a ONE vs UFC mega event. Despite the obstacles of making this a reality, Le is extremely open to the possibility.
“As a competitor, you sit there licking your chops,” Le told MyMMANews. “I want a chance to compete with these guys because they’re high, high-level martial artists. That’s why I am in this game. That’s why I do this, to fight the best.
“It’s so motivating that even talks are out there. But we’ve gotta make this happen as an MMA community. We got to be able to not just keep these guys in their own promotions but be able to go cross-promotions to really see who the best featherweight is. Who the lightweight is, who the best welterweight is.
“The fans deserve it. We deserve it. Ya’ll deserve it. Everybody deserves to know and I’d like a chance to prove what I think. I think I’m the best so I’d like a chance to prove that against these guys that are super dangerous and really motivating.”
Le is a student of the game and it is only natural for him to analyze the matchups.
“I been game-planning for [Alex Volkanovski] ever since he took the belt,” said Le. “That’s just what you do as a fighter. You always see yourself fighting the best guys.
“If talks get a little more in-depth and a little more serious. Pen and paper. We’re doing some late-night studying. We’ve taken a look at [Volkanovski], we’ve taken a look at Pitbull [Freire]. It’s awesome to even entertain the idea. This stuff has to happen. I believe we’ll make it happen before I’m out this game.”
Before Le jumps back into the cage to face anyone in the near future, he needs to recover from a debilitating finger injury that was sustained during his title-winning performance against Nguyen.
“I’ve had three surgeries on this finger,” Le revealed. “So I had a pilon fracture on my index finger and they tried a couple of things. Obviously, the first surgery didn’t get back the mobility we wanted. Second one didn’t either so I ended up replacing the joint.”
Even though the injury has required more time to fully heal, he is still determined to return by the end of the year. It is up in the air exactly who Le will face in his first fight since becoming champ, however, it did not impede him from becoming matchmaker for a day.
“[Reinier] de Ridder just did the double-champ thing so we’ll say Christian [Lee],” Le said with a grin. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
South Korea-based combat sports reporter that covers many of the major organizations around the world.