Thanh Le Feels He Can KO UFC's Alexander Volkanovski

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Thanh Le of Vietnam/USA (red) prepares before a fight against Yusup Saadulaev of Russia (blue) during ONE Championship Feather Weight at Istora Senayan on May 03, 2019
Thanh Le of Vietnam/USA (red) prepares before a fight against Yusup Saadulaev of Russia (blue) during ONE Championship Feather Weight at Istora Senayan on May 03, 2019

Thanh Le, the reigning featherweight titleholder of ONE Championship, wants to prove he is the best in his weight class, regardless of which banner he fights under.

He wants to do it for real, not just theoretically.

“I got into this sport to do things no one would ever think I could do. Becoming a world champion in the largest MMA organization in the world was one of those things,” Le told International Business Times.

“Next would be to help create a borderless MMA world, where it is possible to see who the actual best at each weight class is, and not just leave it to debates and opinions. We are in this sport to see who the best is. We owe it to the fans to give them exactly that.”

Le captured the featherweight belt in October 2020, following a spectacular knockout performance against longtime kingpin Martin Nguyen.

He is currently riding a four-fight winning streak in ONE Championship, with all four wins coming ending inside the distance.

ONE Championship head honcho Chatri Sityodtong recently welcomed the idea of a massive cross-promotion event, pitting his athletes against the very best from the UFC.

Le believes ONE Championship fighters would do very well if matched up against UFC stars or from any other organization for that matter.

“I absolutely think ONE Championship fighters can compete with the best in the UFC. Not only that, but I think they will do better than most American fans expect,” Le stated.

“Look at ‘Mighty Mouse’ for example. He is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. But he is not a champion. He got knocked out. I’ve been there too. But my point is that the UFC is not head and shoulders above any organization, especially not ONE and the caliber of fighters we have on display.”

Though highly unlikely, if ONE Championship can pull off the impossible and strike a deal with the UFC to co-promote an event, Le would be matched up against Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski, who holds the company's featherweight belt.

“Volka has done some awesome things and is a very tough fighter. But I think there is a clear difference in our skill sets and I don’t think he matches up well against me at all," Le said of the possible encounter. "Obviously, he’s going to give anyone fits in the fight game. But I think my movement, kicks, and power make a huge difference. He gets touched a little too much."

“Volka has a ton of skills and uses his anatomy very well. His tactics match his attributes, which unfortunately is a rare thing in the fight game," he added. "Too many people want to prove who’s tougher or who can box better. But this is MMA. He does a good job at attacking where the opponent is weak, and I think him being a shorter fighter, he’s chosen the right footwork to match his short build and long arms.”

Le believes he would not only beat Volkanovski, but also dominate and finish him.

“Honestly, I think I can KO him. He’s a great fighter with a ton of skills, but I don’t think he’s seen anyone like me that can move like me. He lets people touch his face too much. All it takes is one from me,” he declared.




Photo: Getty Images | Robertus Pudyanto

“I would love to test myself against the other champs," Le continued. "This is about me developing into the best fighter I could possibly be, to reach my full potential as a martial artist. But at the same time, I’d like to make some money while doing it for the fans.”

“I think Volka is very appealing for obvious reasons. [Max] Holloway would be an insane fight because he’s such a cool dude and I’ve looked up to him for a long time. [Brian] Ortega, Yair [Rodriguez]--and the list goes on.”

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