Martin Nguyen Impressed With Tang Kai’s ‘Tremendous’ World Title Win Over Thanh Le

Vietnamese-Australian featherweight Martin Nguyen makes his way to the Circle at ONE: LIGHTS OUT

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen had a vested interest in the co-main event of ONE 160: Ok vs. Lee II last month.

On August 26, Chinese sensation Tang Kai dethroned Thanh Le to claim the featherweight MMA belt, and that showdown gave Nguyen pangs of deja vu – although not in the direction many would expect.

Instead, the matchup brought back memories of his own World Title defeat to Le.

Back in October 2020, the Vietnamese-American baited Nguyen into engaging on the feet and ultimately scored a knockout finish to become the new divisional king. But this time, Le’s role was reversed.

“The Situ-Asian” explained:

“I thought it was a tremendous performance [from Tang]. Some people can say I’m completely wrong, but how I saw it was the exact same fight when I fought Thanh Le. Thanh Le was the Tang Kai, and I was Thanh Le in that recent fight. 

“I would come pressuring forward with strikes, and he would evade, set up strikes, set up traps, and tag me along the way. And that’s exactly what Tang Kai did to Thanh Le.”

Tang and Le went the full five World Championship rounds, and it was the surging Chinese star who stayed a step ahead en route to the clear unanimous decision victory. 

However, Nguyen still thinks Le could earn redemption in a rematch if he made some key adjustments.

He told ONEFC.com:

“I don’t know what he did all camp, so I can’t really be there to judge what type of style he was fighting, but if I was there to tell him what to do, I’d say just be more patient and pick your shots, as Tang Kai was coming forward.

“I feel that if he was more patient, he would have been able to force that aggression out of Tang Kai. Obviously, he’s got pinpoint accuracy with his shots, and his shots do hurt.”

Martin Nguyen Would Put Pressure On Tang Kai If They Meet For The Gold

As the #3-ranked featherweight contender, Martin Nguyen is still one of the division’s elite athletes.

And if he can defeat promotional newcomer Ilya Freymanov in his next assignment at ONE on Prime Video 2: Xiong vs. Lee III on September 30, he would be right back in the World Title conversation.

While Nguyen is not in a hurry to challenge for the belt again – and while Tang might have different priorities in the near term – the former titleholder has thought about how he’d approach the new divisional king if they square off.

The Vietnamese-Australian added:

“How would I fight against [Tang]? How I said Thanh Le should have fought. I’ll be a bit more patient. I’ll put the pressure on him for sure. If he wants to come forward, then I’ll tag him with my shots. 

“But yeah, I’m a pressure type of fighter. I like to come forward. I like to bang, and sometimes, that might work against my favor.

“I heard that he was calling out [ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion] Superbon. But I don’t know man. We’ll see what happens. I’m not in any rush anyway.”

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