Garry Tonon On Thanh Le: ‘He Doesn’t Have The Grappling Skills To Hang On The Ground’

·2-min read

After starting 6-0 in ONE Championship, Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon may get the next shot at featherweight king Thanh Le.

Many critics feel the matchup would be a bit premature for the American grappling ace, but “The Lion Killer” sees it differently.

“I think [this contest] is pretty special, especially because of my meteoric rise to title contention,” Tonon said about the potential World Title challenge.

“You’d have the very rare opportunity to watch two people who are incredibly exciting and incredibly dangerous fighting one another. To get to witness something like that, I think for many people, it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.

“There’s something in this for people that are the naysayers or haters, if you will. I think that there’s something in this for the people that [feel otherwise], and all my supporters and all my fans. So, I think it would be a great fight.

“Everybody that wants to say I don’t deserve the title shot, well, let’s find out.”

Tonon may be confident about his chances against a seasoned mixed martial artist in Le, but he’s not discrediting the Vietnamese-American’s abilities.

He knows the skilled striker would pose problems, especially when it comes to scoring takedowns.

“If I want to grapple, closing the distance is a really important thing. It becomes even more important with a guy like Thanh Le, specifically because of the type of in-and-out karate style that he tends to use in his fighting,” Tonon said.

“This karate style is very, very challenging. It’s something that I’ve got to look out for, I’ve got to pay attention to, and I’ve got to learn very precise timing to some of that stuff.”

Because of the dynamic styles that both fighters possess, “The Lion Killer” is expecting this bout – should it happen – to be one for the ages. He believes the clash would leave fans thirsting for more and showcase exactly why he deserves to be in the Circle with Le.

“These are both people that are going to be looking to finish this fight. And anytime you have a contest like that, it’s probably going to be exciting,” Tonon said.

“As far as what I think about winning — first, second round maybe we manage to get a submission. I just think that he doesn’t quite have the grappling skills to hang on the ground for too long without getting submitted by something.

“But we’ll see,” Tonon added. “Maybe he’ll prove me wrong.”

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