BY RYAN BEVINS, ON TWITTER @BEVOIS
Vietnam is a nation sometimes referred to as “The Land of Blue Dragon”. It is also a country located in Southeast Asia that enjoys its own unique history rooted in martial arts. It is the birthplace of the traditional martial arts Vovinam and Nhat Nam, which were both created in the 20th century and are now practiced all over the world. While fellow Asian countries Japan, China, South Korea, and Thailand have older traditional martial arts and a more established MMA scene, Vietnam is beginning to catch up in the Octagon as well.
This is widely credited to the popularity and success of Cung Le. The Vietnamese fighter and actor enjoyed a dominant and undefeated career in Sanshou before crossing over into MMA. It is there where he became a Strikeforce champion, UFC star, and head coach on The Ultimate Fighter: China. Le’s success has in turn inspired the next generation of Vietnamese fighting talent, including a man that shares his surname, LFA bantamweight prospect Quang Le. The LFA fighter credits both Cung Le as well as former LFA interim featherweight champion Thanh Le as sources of inspiration and looks to continue that success.
“I’m very inspired by Cung Le and Thanh Le. Cung Le is a big name in the Vietnam martial arts community,” Le told LFA.com. “I’m very proud to be representing my country and dreaming of one day to be able to carry the flag to the biggest stage like the UFC.”
Le is not a lone, however, and is quick to point out two fellow countrymen that are also making waves for Vietnam. The first is fellow LFA fighter and rising flyweight star An Tuan Ho. The other is Tran Ngoc Luong, one of Vietnam’s most decorated BJJ practitioners.
“An Tuan Ho is a dangerous man,” stated Le. “I think we are going to be in the UFC this year! I also had a chance to come to one of the biggest MMA gyms in Vietnam, Saigon Sports Club, and met Tran Ngoc Luong and trained with him. He’s a multiple-time BJJ national champion and a very solid guy. Vietnam is still new in MMA, but now they are growing really fast. I think we will produce a lot of good fighters in the future.”
Quang Le and Tran Ngoc Luong at Saigon Sports Club in Vietnam.
Le was born in Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, Vietnam, which is part of the Ho Chi Minh City metro area located in the southern part of the country. He eventually moved to the United States and currently calls Brooklyn Park, Minnesota home. It is there where he trains at the world-famous Minnesota Martial Arts Academy also known as The Academy MN in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
“I began training at 22-years-old, stated Le. “I started with Kickboxing and BJJ. My coaches are Greg Nelson, Nathaniel McIntyre, and Joseph Dashou from The Academy MN. I watched the UFC and wanted to be one of the fighters. My biggest influences in MMA are all of the GOATs. They are so inspiring to me with what they have accomplished.”
Once the decision was made to compete, it was all systems go for the young Vietnamese talent. Le began a lengthy amateur career in 2015 that totaled 11 fights. That included competing at the GAMMA: World Championship one-night tournament in 2019. The tournament took place in his native Southeast Asia in the nearby country of Singapore and saw Le compete three times in one day.
“It was a great tournament,” stated Le. “I have learned a lot of experience and fought three times in one day.”
After compiling a wealth of knowledge in an international amateur career that spanned 5 years, Le was more than prepared when it was time to turn pro. That moment came at LFA 115 in September 2021. The bantamweight prospect defeated Kyles Vang with a Unanimous Decision that night and there has been no looking back. Le has now amounted a 5-0 record as a professional with 4 of those wins coming inside the LFA Octagon. In these fights, he has showcased an impressive submission arsenal, which has earned him two wins by Rear Naked Choke and one by Neck Crank. That has led him to his next challenge, the former Titan FC bantamweight champion and often vocal presence of Ira “American Thoroughbred” Lukowsky.
“Ira is a very powerful boxer with good wrestling and definitely one of my toughest opponents,” Le explained. “I see he talks a lot during his fights. I never fought anyone like that, but I think I will just ignore that and focus on fighting my fight.”
You can watch Quang Le battle LFA veteran Ira Lukowsky on the main card of LFA 157. The event takes place this Friday, April 21st and it will be available worldwide on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
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