For the first time since turning professional under the ONE Championship banner over three years ago, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee will be sitting in the blue corner as she moves up in weight to challenge “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan.
Both outstanding ladies are set to duke it out in a champion-versus-champion clash for Xiong’s ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title at ONE: HEART OF THE LION, which takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 9 November.
Putting into consideration that Lee has not competed as a strawweight ever since strapping on four-ounce gloves, as well as her opponent’s astonishing knockout power, she is regarded as an underdog for the very first time in her mixed martial arts career.
However, it does not seem to bother Lee as her underdog status heightens her drive to walk away with her second world title in the sport.
“It doesn’t scare me. It even motivates me to train hard and go for the title,” she said. “I am embracing every bit of the challenge.”
“I have no problem if I will be in the blue or red corner. What matters most right now is that I’m vying for the world title,” Lee added.
The 22-year-old Singaporean sensation has been a breakout star for Asia’s premier martial arts organization since beginning her mixed martial arts stint with ONE Championship in May 2015.
Lee has won all nine of her outings, becoming the world champion in the promotion’s talent-filled 52.2-kilogram weight class a year after debuting, and successfully defending her gold-plated strap three consecutive times.
After being involved in a car accident that left her with minor injuries in November 2017, she made a successful return to the cage this past May with a unanimous decision win over Japanese rival Mei Yamaguchi in a rematch.
Now Lee puts her sights on Xiong’s ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship as a victory over the hard-hitting Chinese combatant will cement her legacy as the first two-division female titleholder in mixed martial arts.
“That (being two-division champion) is something I wanted, but knew I had to earn it. I just was not going to automatically jump up [and challenge for the title]. I wanted to defend this atomweight belt before I made a move to the strawweight division, but now I think it is time,” she stated.
“I am finally closing the chapter on Mei, and looking forward to a new chapter in the strawweight division. I am really excited about that,” Lee continued.
On the other hand, Xiong is currently riding high on an impressive eight-bout winning streak and has not lost a match since June 2015.
Hailing from Beijing, China, Xiong has nine knockout triumphs in her exceptional 16-1 record and is also coming off a second-straight successful title defense, pulling off a third-round knockout victory over Brazil’s Samara Santos last September.
Although Xiong comes into the title tiff as the favorite to win over Lee and tarnish her pristine 9-0 standing in the sport, the latter believes that she is the far more superior athlete.
“She definitely has some raw aggression and power, and she trusts in her fists. She just swings. Just looking at her previous opponents, I do not think any of them have a game quite like mine. I think I bring a whole new set of skills to the cage,” Lee stressed with utter confidence.