Four-time Chin State Wrestling Champion Tial “The Dragon Leg” Thang is blazing a trail through the ONE Championship ranks under the tutelage of legendary martial arts trainer Henri Hooft at Hard Knocks 365 in Florida.
Hooft has some of the biggest names in martial arts under his supervision, including guys like Vitor Belfort, Eddie Alvarez, UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen, and ONE Middleweight & Light Heavyweight World Champion Aung La N Sang.
Growing up as an immigrant in the United States, Thang was a stranger in a foreign land and was forced to adapt to different environments because his family moved a lot. Though things were no doubt difficult, Thang always had martial arts to cling to.
Eventually, Thang wrestled in High School and found success, winning over 500 matches in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
After taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thang decided to become a mixed martial artist.
But it wasn’t until Thang witnessed compatriot Aung La N Sang compete that he wanted to turn his passion into a profession.
“The Burmese Python” is immensely popular in Myanmar, and Thang naturally was drawn to his sports hero. He saw similarities between himself and Aung La, as two immigrant children chasing their dreams.
Though Thang was set with a well-paying job, finding the balance between work and martial arts turned out to be a challenge. That’s when he decided to seek out Aung La to ask for help.
Aung La ultimately gave Thang the motivation to pursue martial arts full-time.
“The Dragon Leg” then took a huge leap of faith and quit his job, moved his family across the country, and began his training with Aung La. His hardwork and sacrifice paid off when ONE Championship knocked on his door and offered him a contract.
Not long after, Thang made his first appearance in the ONE Circle, turning in a dominant performance over Cambodia’s Rin Saroth in his native Myanmar. Needless to say, it was a successful homecoming.
“My debut was awesome because it was my first time going back to my country of Burma in 14 years,” Thang said.
“It was also my professional debut. It’s even sweeter because I got the victory. Then I (got) to see my grandmother and that was a very big thing. The fight and everything else was just great. I love everything about the last fight.”
Thang continues to put in the work and hopes to one day become as great as his compatriot, Aung La. If he pushes himself to the limit and learns from his experiences, there is no doubt Thang will have the support of his people in Myanmar, just like his friend, The Burmese Python.