Vietnamese UFC Fighters (Future Stars Included)

Are you wondering which Vietnamese UFC fighters there have been?

In this article, we look at the Vietnamese UFC fighters, both past and present, as well as the Vietnamese MMA fighters with the potential to become UFC fighters in the future.

Vietnamese UFC Fighters

Starting with the best, here are the Vietnamese UFC fighters, both past and present.

1. Cung Le – (9-3)

Height: 5’9″ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Middleweight

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Cung Le escaped the Vietnam War in 1975 with his mother via helicopter and has since lived in San Jose, California.

Due to being bullied in America, Cung Le started taekwondo at the age of 10 for self-defense. He then started wrestling at 14 and went on to earn All-American honors twice.

Throughout his career from 2006 to 2015, Cung Le carried the flag for his country and is the best Vietnamese UFC fighter of all time.

Just 2 years after turning pro, he became the Strikeforce middleweight champion in March 2008 by defeating Frank Shamrock.

Before starting MMA, Cung Le was a highly skilled kickboxer, with a pro record of 17-0, with 12 knockouts. He’s also a taekwondo black belt and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt.

During his MMA and UFC career, Cung Le showed the following skills:

  • A fantastic wrestling base allowed him to keep fights standing so that he could utilize his striking
  • Diverse and unique striking – he would use underutilized weapons like the step-in sidekick and hook kicks (taekwondo kicks), axe kicks, spinning scissor kick takedown, and throws strikes from angles that fighters aren’t used to seeing
  • Huge power, as evidenced by his one-punch knockout of Rich Franklin with a counter-overhand-right
  • He usually uses the lead leg step-in sidekick like a teep, but he can also use it offensively with a lot of power
  • His kicks were timed perfectly, especially his roundhouse body kick, and his boxing technique was excellent
  • Great kick and spinning back fist combination
  • Fast starting ability – he was great at finding his rhythm early in fights
  • Excellent takedown defense – he had 88% across 4 UFC and 8 Strikeforce fights

In the UFC, Cung Le beat Rich Franklin and Patrick Cote, while losing to Wanderlei Silva and Michael Bisping (all UFC champions at one point, except Cote).

Overall, Cung Le was a great MMA fighter who sadly started his MMA career too late, at 33. He joined the UFC at 39.

This meant he was past his prime when fighting in the UFC, and was the reason he only had 4 UFC fights before retiring.

2. Steven Nguyen – ‘The Ninja’ (9-1)

Height: 5’11” | Reach: 73” | Stance: Switch | Weight Class: Featherweight

Born on May 19, 1993, Steven Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American who was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, USA.

His path to the UFC is a story of determination. He has appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) 3 times, a feat achieved by only four fighters. 

Despite a setback in 2019, he bounced back with two wins on the series, one in 2021 and another in 2023, earning him a coveted UFC contract.

Steven has been training with Fortmis MMA under the guidance of Sayif Saud since at least 2021, where he also trains and spars with more than 20 active UFC fighters. Kyle Crutchmer is his wrestling coach.

Upon earning his way into the UFC, Steven Nguyen has shown the following skills:

  • Exhibits crisp boxing combinations with fast hands and lovely technique.
  • Utilizes a stinging jab effectively to start and end combinations, often catching opponents off-guard.
  • Known for remaining calm and composed in the pocket during exchanges.
  • A physical specimen for the featherweight division, and one of the most athletic fighters observed by his peers.
  • Fights on the front foot, applying consistent pressure on opponents.
  • Demonstrated ability to absorb heavy shots, including roundhouse kicks and knees, without flinching.
  • Maintains a tight, technical style in striking, avoiding overcommitment or wild swings.
  • High finishing ability – out of 9 MMA wins, he achieved 7 finishes
  • Tall and rangy for a featherweight, effectively using his physical attributes in fights.

With his first UFC fight likely to be in early 2024, Steven Nguyen is a Vietnamese UFC fighter for the future.

In terms of improvements, he should improve his wrestling skills and willingness to use wrestling in his fights.

He should also incorporate more kicks to increase his striking variety and make more use of his height and range advantage, as well as up his finishing instincts.

3. Ben Nguyen – ‘10’ (16-9)

Height: 5’5″ | Reach: 65” | Stance: Switch | Weight Class: Flyweight

Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA, Ben Nguyen is a Vietnamese American who fought out of Brisbane, Australia. 

He’s a former Nitro bantamweight champion and K-Oz bantamweight champion and his UFC career lasted from 2015 to 2019 (last fight Dec 2018) where he went 4-3.

He’s a 3rd-degree black belt in taekwondo, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and a green belt in judo.

During his UFC career, Ben Nguyen showed the following skills:

  • Very fluid ground movement, transitions, and ability to scramble
  • Very aggressive and fun to watch – he was willing to take a shot to get on the inside
  • Covered distance very well with his strikes, despite having a short reach
  • Excellent footwork and movement – he switched stance often
  • Good feints and regular rhythm changes
  • Speedy and accurate striking, especially with his boxing
  • High finishing prowess – finished 13 of 16 wins (8 knockouts and 5 submissions)

In the UFC, Ben Nguyen’s best wins were against Geane Herrera and Tim Elliott, while he lost to Louis Smolka, Wilson Reis, and Jussier Formiga.

The reason for his losses was a clear lack of a strong wrestling base. In all 3 fights, he was easily taken down and controlled many times, which effectively negated his ability to use his striking or submission strengths.

He also lacked a sense of urgency in the fights he was clearly losing. 

Overall, Ben Nguyen was a great prospect, but after he was released by the UFC in late 2018, he moved to Rizin and lost again. He retired from MMA shortly after, at the age of 30.

4. Nam Phan – (21-17)

Height: 5’6″ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Bantamweight

Born in Oakland, California, USA, Nam Phan is a Vietnamese-American and the former King of Pancrase featherweight champion in 2015.

Nam Phan began taekwondo at age 4 and went on to achieve a 2nd-degree black belt in Việt Quyền Đạo, a black belt in karate, a black belt in judo, and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

His MMA career lasted from 2001 to 2018, during which time he competed in the UFC (2010-2015), WEC, Strikeforce, and Pancrase.

During his UFC career, Nam Phan fought to a 2-6 UFC record and showed the following skills:

  • Great boxing technique with fast hand speed and combinations
  • Strong chin and cardio, having never been knocked out in any of his UFC fights
  • A very experienced fighter, having boxed and fought in various MMA organizations and faced a wide range of opponents
  • Excellent body punches, especially via left hooks, becoming one of the best in the bantamweight division
  • Strong ground game – he’s a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo
  • Aggressive fighting style which saw him attempt to push forward and land a great volume of strikes

Overall, Nam Phan was a decent fighter who was well-rounded with great technique, but he suffered from poor strategy and fight IQ, as well as limited takedown defense and power.

His UFC wins were against Leonard Garcia and Cole Miller, while notable losses were against Mike Brown, Dennis Siver, and Takeya Mizugaki.

Vietnamese MMA Fighters (Outside of the UFC)

1. Thanh Le

  • Promotions: ONE Championship, LFA, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series
  • Achievements: Thanh Le is the former ONE Featherweight World Champion and the current Interim ONE Featherweight World Champion.
  • Skills and Highlights: Known for his striking prowess and knockout power. Despite winning on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, he wasn’t awarded a UFC contract. Le is celebrated for his dynamic striking, particularly his ability to finish fights decisively.

2. Martin Nguyen

  • Promotions: ONE Championship
  • Achievements: Martin Nguyen was ONE’s first double champ, having won the ONE Featherweight and ONE Lightweight Championships.
  • Skills: Known for his knockout power and well-rounded fighting abilities. Nguyen has shown proficiency in both striking and grappling, making him a formidable opponent in his weight class.

3. An Tuan Ho

  • Promotions: Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA)
  • Achievements: Rising star in the flyweight division, gaining recognition for his performances in the LFA.
  • Skills: An Tuan Ho is known for his dynamic fighting style. His performances in LFA have marked him as a potential future contender in larger promotions, possibly including the UFC.

4. Tran Ngoc Luong

  • Promotions: Lion Championship
  • Achievements: One of Vietnam’s most decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners with multiple national championships.
  • Skills: Tran Ngoc Luong is recognized for his expertise in Bjj and ground game. His transition to MMA has been closely watched, and he is considered a solid prospect with the potential for future success in larger MMA promotions.


These fighters represent the growing talent pool of Vietnamese MMA fighters making an impact in various promotions around the world. 

Their achievements and skills in promotions like ONE Championship and LFA highlight the rising presence and potential of Vietnamese athletes in the global MMA scene.

Some of these Vietnamese MMA fighters may one day join the UFC because they have the talent.

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