After a little time away from our screens, ONE Championship is coming back with a vengeance, with a double-header on Friday, August 26.
ONE on Prime Video 1 will see an absolutely stacked card of ONE Championship stars take to the circle on US prime time. But, before ONE’s historic first show in partnership with the streaming giants, their latest numbered event will play out at a regular time for ONE Championship fans.
ONE 160 isn’t short of top quality clashes, either, with two top-drawer championship bouts at the top of the fight card, as ONE lightweight champion Ok Rae Yoon gets set to put his title on the line against the man he defeated to win it, Christian Lee, while hard-hitting featherweight champion Thanh Le takes on Tang Kai in his latest title defence.
Ahead of their respective title tussles, all four fighters spoke during a virtual media day session in Singapore.
Here’s what they had to say:
Ok Rae Yoon, ONE lightweight champion
“I’m going to dominate this bout. I’m going to dominate this week. That’s going to be 2-0 for me. So Christian Lee won’t have any reason to have a third bout against me.
“He said the same thing before our last bout, he said he’d finish me early. Every MMA athlete thinks the same thing, of course, we all want to finish the bout as early as possible. But what happened in our last bout? If he tries all those [same moves], he’ll just get tired again. I see the same picture happening again.
“His strength is his wrestling and grappling… But my strength—my wrestling defense—is bigger than his strength. That’s the reason why I’m winning this fight. And that’s why I won our first match, because I can defend his biggest strengths. And that’s how it’s going to go again…
“For this bout, I will be very aggressive. I will show the offensive side of me. I’m going to be very, very aggressive and Christian Lee will be very frustrated with my offense…”
Christian Lee, #1-ranked lightweight contender
“I still feel like I won [the first] fight. Even after everything has been said and done, emotions aside, I feel like I won the fight.
“I still plan on finishing Ok [Rae Yoon] in the first round. However, I’m very confident in my conditioning. And I know that if it takes five rounds to [win], I’ll be pushing from start to finish.
“I wouldn’t really say [Ok Rae Yoon] is much of a killer. He got very lucky in his first three fights in ONE. You know, winning decisions. In my opinion, I think those are three fights he [should have] lost…
“I have a really straightforward approach to this fight: I plan on bringing the fight to him, walking forward, hitting him, and putting him down.
“If everything goes to plan, and I go forward and I finish Ok, then I don’t think there will be a need for another rematch… if it doesn’t go to decision, and I finish him, then that’s two wins for me against him in my mind. I don’t see any need for a third fight.”
Thanh Le, ONE featherweight champion
“I like to hang my hat on being calm and collected in the fire. It’s just one extra thing to prove that I’m also calm and collected during any kind of [trash] talk fire, any kind of back-and-forth.
“I have a number of first-round knockouts, quite a few second-round knockouts and I’ve never been to a decision. Guys feel me, they feel my presence in The Circle and that brings out certain things. I’ve got a record of knocking people out when they do take that forward step. So we’ll see how it plays out.
“You can’t blame people for sleeping on my grappling because you guys haven’t really seen much of it. We saw a little glimpse of it in my last fight, that ended up working well and I think that’s part of what I do well on the ground: bringing my striking, danger, and knowledge to the mats.
“He’s got a lot of weapons. He’s got speed, power, he’s sharp, that left leg brings some danger, that left hook brings some danger. Obviously, he stung Kim [Jae Woong] with that right hand and that left-hook set-up… He’s all-around a great striker.”
Tang Kai, #1-ranked featherweight contender
“I’m way better technically than [Thanh Le] when it comes to striking. I have more details in my style, so I’m definitely the better striker.
“His first big weakness is his age, he’s too old. Another one is his weak chin, as soon as I touch that chin, he’ll go down. No problem … There’s no question, I will make him suffer.
“A black belt sounds good, but in order to submit somebody, you have to take them down first. It’s impossible for him to take me down.
“First of all, my wrestling is definitely better than his. But I don’t feel like using it in this fight, you can call me a dog if I shoot one single takedown in this fight.”