ONE FC has quickly become the largest MMA ppromotion in Asia and can boast a host of top talent and young prospects alike on their roster. One of those up and coming fighters is Christian Lee. At just 17-years-old, Lee has already etched out a 4 – 0 record for himself since making his professional debut in Decemer 2015. Not only has he finished all 4 of those wins (two by knockout, two by submission), but none of his opponents have made it out of the first round. Lee will make his fifth professional appearance on Friday at ONE: Kingdom of Champions against Rocky Batolbatol and recently spoke to Jim Edwards about his next assignment. You can listen to the full interview below:L
Lee knows what he will be facing in Batolbatol on Friday, and he insists that he will be prepared for what his opponent brings to the table. “As soon as I found out I was fighting Rocky I immediately pulled up tapes of his last fights,” he said. “I looked at his record and his past fights and I thought he was actually pretty similar to my last opponent. He swings for the fences and he goes out on his shield. He will come looking to knock me out so I’m going to be ready and I’m going to be on top of my game and look to finish him.”
ONE: Kingdom of Champions will be slightly different from most MMA shows fans will be used to as there will be performances from some of Thailand’s favourite rock bands in conjunction with the fights. It is something that excited Lee greatly. “This event is going to be huge and by far one of the biggest events of ONE Championship history,” he explained. “I think whether you are a fan of rock music or a fan of MMA fighting, you are going to come in there and see an amazing show. If I wasn’t fighting, I’d just go in there and watch the fights and the music and take in the atmosphere. I think it’s going to be amazing and I expect it to be one of the best fight cards yet.”
Lee comes from a family of martial artists, with his sister, Angela, being one of the biggest stars on the ONE FC roster. He spoke about how he got into MMMA. “The reason why I got into martial arts was my dad,” he revealed. “He was a martial arts instructor. But the reason I got into MMA is because I really fell in love with martial arts. It started off as something I did as a neccessity because I had to go and train every day, but, as I grew older, it really became something that I loved doing.”
As for what Lee’s plans for the future are, well, he gave a simple answer. “At the end of my MMA career I want to be known as one of the best fighters of all time, but also the best martial artist in history. It’s a big goal to set, but that’s my plan.”
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.
“Essentially, I see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.
As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.
“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”
“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”
4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.
“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”
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