Following his incredible 56-second knockout of Garry Tonon at ONE: Lights Out in March, Thanh Le will return to the circle to defend his featherweight world championship against dangerous Chinese striker Tang Kai.
The two will clash in the co-main event of ONE 160, the first of an epic two-night spectacular with the latter event, ONE 161, airing live at U.S. primetime on Amazon Prime Video.
Undefeated in the circle and winner of nine straight, Tang Kai made waves with his profanity-laced callout of the reigning featherweight world champion, which followed his knockout of Kim Jae Woong at the promotion’s 10th-anniversary spectacular, ONE X, in March.
In his post-fight interview, Tang asked for a title shot and had some not-so-friendly words for Thanh Le.
“I wanna fight the title fight. Please give me this fight. I want to kill [that] motherf*****.”
While speaking at a ONE 160 virtual press conference, Thanh Le discussed Kai’s unique callout, saying he enjoyed seeing the contender in the moment and shooting his shot the way he did.
“Yeah, I was excited. It’s always nice to be able to find a new problem, puzzle opponent to face and dissect. And it’s interesting because we haven’t run into the kind of guys who like to talk. It was cool to see him the circle and decided after his win and his knockout to let the emotions take over and get excited and make his call out. And it was good.”
Thanh Le is excited to face someone that is equally excited to face him
Like his challenger, Thanh Le is unbeaten in the circle, winning five straight, including his world title win against former division king Martin Nguyen at ONE: Inside the Matrix.
The Louisiana native will put his crown on the line for the second time when he steps back into the circle on August 26, and he's excited for the task ahead of him.
“He got his knockout, he got his title shot, so it worked. No hard feelings. That doesn’t make me upset or anything like that because it’s his job. He’s the next guy in line that’s got to be fired up to get this belt from this big, bad guy sitting on top and that’s neat. I’m excited to face somebody who is that excited to face me.”
Also speaking during the ONE 160 virtual media event, Tang Kai further expressed his excitement not just for the opportunity to become a ONE world champion, but to be the first Chinese fighter to claim a world championship in mixed martial arts":
“I am so excited. If I get this victory, if that happened [and I won], I will be the first male [mixed martial arts] world champion from China. That would mean a lot for me and the whole community.”