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Thanh Le looks forward to a battle of "specialists" when he meets Garry Tonon at ONE X

Thanh Le (Right) will put his title on the line against fellow specialist Garry Tonon (Left) at ONE X | [Photos: ONE Championship]
Thanh Le (Right) will put his title on the line against fellow specialist Garry Tonon (Left) at ONE X | [Photos: ONE Championship]
Ben Imperial

Thanh Le has proven to be one of the most exciting pound-for-pound fighters to watch. His explosive finishing power has helped him stop all four of his opponents in the Circle.

He believes that his body of work speaks for itself when he claims to be a "specialist" in mixed martial arts.

In an interview with ONE Championship, Thanh Le explained what it takes to rightfully earn that title and why it doesn’t mean that they are one-dimensional fighters:

“We're trying to be complete, well-rounded mixed martial artists, but the truth of the matter is that we're specialists. A lot of people like to call themselves specialists, but you have to be at a certain level in one. Now, just because you spent all your time striking doesn't mean you're a striking specialist. Being at a certain level and being elite in a certain level and world class at a certain skill set makes you a specialist in that piece, right?”

By this line of thinking, he believes that his upcoming opponent, Garry ‘The Lion Killer’ Tonon, is a fellow specialist, but in a vastly different aspect.

“I believe that both of us have that [specialist tag] in opposite ends of the spectrum. And we're not slouches on the other side of the coin either. So I think it's going to be a really interesting matchup for the fans because it is traditional grappler versus striker, but he’s got some striking and I've got some grappling. So if it touches the ground for two seconds, I'm not getting subbed. If he stays standing and keeps his hands up for two seconds, he's not getting knocked out.”

Thanh Le faces Garry Tonon in early 2022

Thanh Le’s matchup against the world-renowned grappler Tonon is set to take place at the promotion’s 10th anniversary show, ONE X, which is expected to happen in early 2022.

This will be Thanh Le’s first world title defense since claiming the featherweight title from former two-division world champion Martin Nguyen at 2020’s ONE: Inside the Matrix.

Nguyen succumbed to the finishing power of Thanh Le in the third round of their encounter, in a solid "Knockout of the Year" ending.

Meanwhile, Tonon has been undefeated in the Circle since making his transition to MMA and has proven that his striking is not to be ignored, finishing two of his six wins by TKO.

Will Thanh Le continue to add another stoppage to his dominant streak, or will Tonon claim his first MMA gold? With both specialists looking to assert their game, there’s a high probability that this match will not go the distance.


Edited by Harvey Leonard

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