Tang Kai Unpacks Knockout Win Over Thanh Le, Discusses Potential World Title Challengers

Tang Kai Thanh Le ONE 166 27

Earlier this month, Tang Kai solidified his status as the planet’s top featherweight mixed martial artist – and he did it in emphatic fashion.

On March 1 at ONE 166: Qatar, the Chinese superstar knocked out interim titleholder Thanh Le to unify the divisional belts and once again become the undisputed ONE Featherweight MMA World Champion.

That victory came 18 months after Tang first defeated Le by decision to claim the World Title. But when injury forced him to the sidelines for an extended period, Le stayed busy and captured the interim gold.

During his long time away, Tang and his team devised a plan to finish his rival inside the distance, and he executed that plan perfectly.

The 28-year-old told onefc.com:

“The strategy was to give him pressure to break his rhythm – and then finish him.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/C4DZ7gkpV9E/

After a somewhat tepid start to the battle, the Sunkin International Fight Club representative found his range in the third round with a perfectly placed right hand that sent the Vietnamese-American star crumbling to the canvas.

For Tang, that knockout represented the culmination of many months of hard work.

After failing to secure the finish in their first bout, he was happy to silence any critics who doubted his stopping power against the division’s elite:

“I must thank my team and coaches because they helped me make tactics to finish the match. I felt really good to win a match by knockout that I’ve been waiting for over a year to have.

“I showed my power this time to the people who doubted me before.”

Tang Welcomes Fights With Tonon, Nguyen, And Superbon

Now that he’s unified the ONE Featherweight MMA World Title, Tang Kai has no shortage of hungry contenders looking for an opportunity.

The most obvious first challenger is American jiu-jitsu ace Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, who is currently ranked #2 in the division and has scored three consecutive submission wins since his unsuccessful bid for gold against Thanh Le in 2022.

When asked about a potential fight with the New Jersey native, Tang didn’t hesitate in describing how he thinks that classic striker-versus-grappler matchup would go:

“He’s very good at jiu-jitsu, but his striking skill is weaker. I’m always ready to fight with any style, any person.

“[His grappling] won’t affect me. I’m going to KO him.”

Beyond Tonon, the featherweight MMA king has his sights set on Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen

While the Vietnamese-Australian standout has struggled lately, going 2-2 over his past four appearances, Tang hopes that Nguyen can put together a winning streak and fight his way back to a shot at the World Title he once held:

“I really want to fight Martin Nguyen because he was the first two-division ONE World Champion. Although he’s been losing recently, I want him to win a couple of fights and challenge me, and I think it’s going to be a really good and impressive fight.”

Finally, the Chinese titleholder says he’d happily welcome a showdown with former ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion Superbon Singha Mawynn, who will compete for that division’s interim gold at ONE Friday Fights 58: Superbon vs. Grigorian II.

He’s heard the Thai legend speak about chasing gold in MMA but doubts that a transition to the all-around sport would go smoothly.

To that end, Tang sent a message to Superbon, warning him what could happen:

“I think Superbon is a bit arrogant because he says he can fight in MMA with a bit of practice. I’d have to let him know what MMA is, and I’ll let him sleep on the ground.”

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