Thanh Le Is Not Looking to Test Ground Skills With Jiujitsu Ace Garry Tonon – “We’re Gonna Keep the Fight Where I Feel Most Comfortable”

Published 03/09/2022, 12:00 PM EST

ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le would love to leave ONE: LIGHTS OUT this Friday, 11 March, with a spectacular knockout.

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The American-Vietnamese fighter does not expect it to come easy, though. If anything, the 36-year-old feels that Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon will be one of his toughest assignments at the Singapore-based organization.

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A reason why the featherweight king believes so is because of the stylistic matchup that will be in place. Thanh Le understands that he has some advantages in the striking department but expects Tonon to be a decent dance partner should they trade leather in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“It just so happens, in this matchup, we’ve got the good old traditional grappler versus striker matchup. But what’s cool about this matchup, I think, is because Garry has done striking for a long time, and I have grappled for a long time — now to think that he can just get into a kickboxing fight with me is silly, to think that I can just go down to the ground and grapple him is silly also,” the division king pointed out.

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“Obviously, he’s trying to counteract that by bringing it to his world. And like, he’s spent years and years being the best in the world at something, and I’ve done the same. And we’re trying to be complete, well-rounded, mixed martial artists, but the truth of the matter is that we’re specialists [at our own game].”

Thanh Le understands the threat on the ground

Thanh Le has been sharpening his ground game alongside some of the finest grapplers at 50/50 BJJ under the guidance of submission guru Ryan Hall and Adam Benayoun. He admits that has given him some confidence should Tonon try to dominate the contest on the canvas.

The New Orleans native, however, admits that he will prefer to keep the contest on the feet as that will be his best route to successfully defend his prestigious gold in Singapore.

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“I’m here now in Virginia, here at 50/50 jiu-jitsu with Ryan Hall and Adam Benayoun. So it’s a huge group of guys here that are helping me day by day. That’s always been the routine for me, [to find] the best mind in MMA that I can find, and trying to help each other get better and grow in the right direction,” he said.

“I’ve tried to help where I can and have learned so much from Ryan and his team. But, you know, same routine, the same approach to my game. We’re gonna keep the fight where I feel most comfortable and where I’m able to be the best me possible.”

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Download the ONE Super App to witness their main event World Title tilt at ONE: LIGHTS OUT this Friday, 11 March.

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Deepak Kumar

673 articles

Deepak Kumar is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. His love for MMA comes from the chaos and violence the fight game brings to the table. A BJJ aspirant, Deepak began following the sport as a casual fan when Ronda Rousey was finishing her opponents in seconds.

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