Tang Kai (C) (ONE Championship)

Tang Kai Reflects on ONE 166 Title Unification Win

Tang Kai took care of business against Thanh Le in their rematch to unify the ONE featherweight MMA championship at ONE 166: Qatar earlier this month.

In his return bout 19 months in the making, Tang put a cap on the rivalry with a third-round TKO. According to the Chinese athlete, who spoke with ONE Championship following the win, it went exactly according to plan.

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


The humble featherweight king refused to take all the credit. Instead, he expressed his gratitude to his team for preparing him for the rematch while laying out just how good it felt to show fans he could finish former divisional king Le.

“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,” Tang expressed.

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

With the unification tie settled, China’s first male MMA world champion can now forward to defending his title against the ever-growing list of contenders in the featherweight ranks.

According to Tang, at the top of pile is American grappling veteran Garry Tonon. The BJJ superstar has put together some nice victories lately to emerge as the likely candidate for the next shot at the gold. 

Despite “The Lion Killer’s” three finishes from as many outings in ONE Championship, Tang is confident he can finish him and retain the belt.

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

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

Another opponent the Sunkin International Fight Club man has his eyes on is is former two-division king Martin Nguyen. 

A ONE mainstay, “The Situ-Asian” has seen a mixed bag of results over the last couple of years, so Tang admits he’ll will need a few more wins before the match can happen.

“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,” the ONE featherweight MMA champion admitted.

Another featherweight on Tang’s radar may not be one that many expect. Recently, striking superstar Superbon Singha Mawynn has hinted he way to dip his toe into the MMA pond. If that were to happen, a battle with the divisonal king may become a prospect at some stage.

It won’t happen any time soon, as Superbon has his battle for the ONE interim featherweight kickboxing title at ONE Friday Fights 58 on Apr. 5 to focus on, but Tang has warned the Thai icon to stay in his lane, nonetheless.

“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,” he said.