Thah Le prepares to face a mixed martial arts legend

Vietnamese-American featherweight Thanh Le made a statement during his ONE Championship debut with a jaw-dropping second-round knockout of Russian grappler Yusup Saadulaev at ONE: FOR HONOR.

His victory proved he is poised for a strong run at the title.

Le will return to action this Friday, 16 August at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD to take on Japanese mixed martial arts veteran and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu Boku at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

Le is excited about competing again but is wary of what Boku can bring into the ring.

"I definitely know who he is, definitely know he is a dangerous, dangerous dude. I am going into this bout with a lot of respect, he has a lot of experience with the best dudes,” Le said.

Boku is currently on a two-bout losing streak, which Le believes could work against him. The Japanese athlete has been competing in mixed martial arts for almost 20 years and has never lost three straight contests during that time.

"I think it's going to bring a certain level of danger for sure, but a seasoned veteran like that, he is going to be him. He is going to do what he knows is right, whether he is coming off a losing or a winning streak, it doesn't matter," Le noted.

"He is going to be him because he is good at it; he does it well; he is experienced and disciplined. He is going to be that guy. Not to say he is not going to bring a few different things into the ring, but he is going to be that guy who is going to be disciplined all the way through."

The former LFA Featherweight Champion made his name in mixed martial arts through his impressive stand-up ability. Le's background prior to mixed martial arts was taekwondo, and as fans saw in the Saadulaev bout, Le only needs a small opening to fire off a game-changing strike.

Le will square off against another stand-up specialist in Boku. However, if the encounter does go to the ground, the Louisiana native is confident that after Saadulaev, he will be able to handle whatever Boku throws at him.

"Going against a high-level grappler like Yusup was a great learning experience. The more experience I get as a grappler the more I start to experience different types of people. The wiry strength, muscle strength, the static strength, the movement, the following and things like that. It was awesome," he commented.

Le's main concern right now is beating Boku, but it does not mean he is not paying attention to what is currently going on within the featherweight division.

"It's stacked with talent, high-level guys with a lot of experience from the champ all the way down to the new guys with their first bouts," Le said. "I definitely have my eyes on a couple of guys, and I'm trying to pay attention to who's chasing the title who's holding the title and who is making their way up with impressive wins."

Now that he is signed with ONE, the New Orleans resident is hoping to keep himself busy as much as he can.

"I'm not 21 anymore, so it's definitely nice to be able to schedule a bout let it happen then get back into camp and do it again. I enjoy being in camp. I enjoy what it brings out of me, planning for somebody like Yusup, like Boku and the next guy and the next guy, it makes you stay disciplined,” he said.

"[You] change your game a little bit, adapt to some hurdles that you're going to run into, it just does nothing but move you in the right direction if you approach it the right way."

After the upcoming bout, Le isn’t expected to take any time off, especially if he remains healthy. There is too much left to accomplish, and Le is not slowing down until he has achieved everything he plans out to do.