UFC fans may remember Thanh Le from The Ultimate Fighter Season 22, aka “Team McGregor vs. Team Faber.” Although he failed to make it past the elimination rounds at the time, he made quite the comeback in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series years later, having put on a flawless performance and winning his fight by head kick knockout.
In both appearances, Thanh Le was exciting, and for Dana White to not sign Thanh even after his stunning knockout in DWTNCS was a crime! A 5th-degree Taekwondo black belt, Thanh possesses a powerful and versatile kicking arsenal and boasts a 100% knockout rate. His quest for a spot in the UFC may have fallen short for now, but Thanh Le still managed to find success elsewhere.
Having captured the Legacy Fighting Alliance Interim Featherweight title, Thanh Le is now signed to One Championship. With a 3-0 record in One Championship, Thanh has skyrocketed his way to a potential title shot and is now the promotion’s #3-ranked featherweight contender. With all that said, let’s countdown Thanh Le’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
- Vs. Kotetsu “No Face” Boku — One Championship: Dreams of Gold (Aug. 16, 2019)
- Vs. Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi — One Championship: A New Tomorrow (Jan. 10, 2020)
- Vs. Yusup Saadulaev — One Championship: For Honor (May 3, 2019)
- Vs. Andrés Quintana — The Ultimate Fighter 22: (Jul. 17, 2015)
In his second outing with One Championship, Thanh Le stepped up to his next challenge in the form of former One lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku. Thanh Le, looking composed and keeping good distance as always, started the round with a roundhouse kick.
After landing a couple more single shots, including a head roundhouse, Boku tried advancing with a right punch, but it spelled the beginning of the end for the 42-year-old veteran, as Thanh Le caught Boku with a roundhouse kick to the body that stopped Boku in his tracks. Le then added to the combination with a left punch and a right hook that sent Boku to the canvas and prompted referee Olivier Coste to rush to Boku’s rescue.
After defeating Kotetsu Boku, Thanh Le went to war against fellow striker and knockout artist Ryogo Takahashi, who finished his last fight via leg kick and was enjoying an 8-fight win streak that started way back in May 2015.
With Thanh Le landing two cracking roundhouse kicks, Takahashi started firing back with some powerful leg kicks, but they weren’t enough to stop the Taekwondo specialist.
Takahashi intercepted a body kick from Thanh, but not without taking some damage himself, and he stumbled upon a failed attempt to counter-punch Le. This prompted Thanh to chase Takahashi and knock him down with a punch. Takahashi got back up, but Thanh continued his thundering storm, as he put Takahashi in a Muay Thai clinch, stunning him with a knee to the face. Thanh then landed a hard punch that caused Takahashi to bounce against the corner of the ring before stumbling on one knee, thus knocking out Takahashi.
Having left Legacy Fighting Alliance in a stint where he captured the interim featherweight title, Thanh Le signed with One Championship and fought Russian grappling virtuoso Yusup Saadulaev in his One debut.
The first round was rather slow as Thanh Le advanced and kept Saadulaev at bay with his striking, but Saadulaev secured a takedown late in the round and kept Thanh Le on the ground.
In the second round, Thanh Le threw a roundhouse kick to the head that barely missed. Believing that Thanh would throw another head roundhouse, Saadulaev attempted to shoot for a takedown, only to eat a knee to the face, which knocked Saadulaev out cold.
UFC fans were first introduced to Thanh Le when he appeared on The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber, and everyone was extremely impressed by what they saw. Thanh’s Taekwondo arsenal went on full display, for he was landing crisp roundhouse kicks, stunning spinning back kicks and precise spinning hook kicks. Quintana had no answer to Le’s elite striking, so Thanh knocked out Quintana with a punch to the face.
This spectacular performance not only earned Thanh Le a spot on Team Faber, but also praise from Urijah Faber, (opposing coach to Team Conor McGregor) and even president, Dana White.
Before the #1 slot, we need to make this honourable mention:
Vs. Bobby Moffett — LFA 31: Moffett vs. Le (Jan. 19, 2018)
Despite putting on a spectacular performance in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Thanh Le did not get a contract to fight in the UFC for odd reasons only God and Dana know. Nevertheless, Thanh Le moved on and, in his next fight, took on Bobby Moffett for the Legacy Fighting Alliance interim featherweight championship.
Although Moffett tried walking down Le and played the kicking game with him, Le managed to land kicks, win most of the striking exchanges, and even drop Moffett. In the second round, Le dropped Moffett with a double kick. Moffett continued to pressure Le, but Le caught Moffett with a left hand that knocked him down. Moffett’s only option was to cover his head as Thanh Le rained with a ground and pound assault to end the fight.
…and in at #1 is…
Vs. Lazar Stojadinovic — Dana White’s TNCS – Season 1. Ep. 2 (Jul. 18, 2017)
Two years after his loss in the elimination rounds of TUF 22, Thanh Le sought redemption by going for a second run for a spot in the UFC, this time through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Despite Thanh Le’s opponent, Lazar Stojadinovic, being a proficient boxer, Thanh lit up his opponent with his signature kicks and gave him very little opportunity to close the range with punches.
Among fans, this was one of the ultimate highlights of the show, and Thanh Le even had this to say to Dana. (Damn it Dana! How could you not sign this man?!)
Anyway, in the second round, he went high and knocked out his opponent with that patented Thanh Le head kick.