Thanh Le (ONE Championship)

ONE 166’s Thanh Le: ‘Like a God Mode Character’

Thanh Le captured the ONE featherweight MMA championship with a knockout after a knockdown in Mar. 2022. But a narrow decision loss saw him dethroned at the hands of Tang Kai less than six months later.

That defeat still eats away at the New Orleans resident, despite him earning the ONE interim featherweight MMA title against Ilya Freymanov in his last outing in Oct. 2023, which booked him a rematch with his old Chinese foe. 

That clash will go down this Friday, Mar. 1, at ONE 166: Qatar, and Le is ready to put the past behind him and regain the undisputed gold. 


“Yeah. I think the last fight was a really good combination of a really great and well-prepared game plan from Tang and his team, and probably the worst performance and decision-making that I’ve made in a really, really long time,” he told ONE Championship.

“But that was partly because of the things he was doing. So it’s not like I’m trying to take away from the things that he did well. I’m just trying to, basically paint the true picture of it was a perfect storm for him to win that belt, and he ended up doing it.”

To capture the interim title, Le showcased his tremendous ground game to score a first-round submission over Freymanov at ONE Fight Night 15. Though it was his first win in such a fashion in his ONE tenure, he has long lauded his skills under the tutelage of Ryan Hall.

As he prepares for his rematch with Tang, Le’s been trying to get each of his weapons to as close to perfect as he can, while knowing true mastery is a pipe dream.

“That’s the goal is to be like a God Mode character, 10 out of 10 and everything, but that’s not going to happen. I’m not a vampire. I can’t live 100 years and build those skills. But I’m getting so much closer than I used to be. And that’s the whole point,” he remarked.

With the ability to compete wherever the action goes, the interim featherweight king is confident he can adapt quickly to any situation. According to him, that is pivotal when competing at the elite level of MMA.

“Yeah, adapting is huge. I think that’s one of my strong suits that I learned. It’s hard to tell people if it’s innate or if it’s learned because I’ve been doing Taekwondo since I was a child. You know what I mean? So like, how do you really know? I’d like to think that it was learned because I’d like to give credit to martial arts because I think that’s where everything really comes from,” Le said.

“So I think the adaptation, the ability to adjust based on if you’re winning or losing, that just comes from years and years of experiencing losing and experiencing not doing well and learning to fight back.”

The 50/50 and MadCity MMA star is dialed in ahead of ONE 166, and he wants to leave no doubt in the rematch for the undisputed ONE featherweight MMA championship.

And when it comes to predictions, Le is calling a quick night at the office for him and his team.

“Man, I’ll be honest with you, we make it out of the first round. I’ll be surprised. He’s in for either a short night or a long night, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. I don’t know why they put the main event like third or fourth or whatever number I am,” he said.

“It’s weird that, you know, because obviously Tang and I are the main event. It’s weird they put us like third or fourth down the card, but y’all better get to the arena. Really cause he’s going to sleep and he’s. Going to sleep early.”

ONE 166 airs live and free on Friday, March 1 from the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar. The action begins at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST on Prime Video.