ONE Championship lightweight king Christian Lee will mount the third defense of his title this week when he takes on South Korea’s Ok Rae Yoon in the main event of ONE: Revolution in Singapore on Friday, September 24.
The 23-year-old is riding a six-fight winning streak; his last two wins were opening round victories over Timofey Nastyukhin and Iuri Lapicus. Two men, many thought, would provide a real test for Lee. Victory against Ok would see Lee holding wins over all of the ranked fighters in ONE’s lightweight division.
ONE CEO and founder Chatri Sityodtong has followed Lee’s progress since he first arrived at the promotion in 2015 and believes the Hawaiian-based fighter now sits atop of the lightweight division not just in ONE, but in all of MMA.
“I would argue he is the greatest lightweight on the planet today. I think he would clean out any lightweight division in any organization,” Sityodtong says, speaking to LowkickMMA.
“He had always had that flash of brilliance, that x-factor if you will, even when he was 17, but today at 23, he is far more dangerous, far more confident, and yet he has a really calm, mature approach to the game, which is very surprising.”
Facing off against Lee on Friday night is a fighter with nothing to prove and everything to gain. Ok made a name for himself during his promotional debut last April, when he defeated former ONE Featherweight Champion Marat Gafurov. A week later, he followed that win with an impressive victory over former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
“Ok is one of these fighters, is great everywhere, and is very durable and resilient, and he is very rough to finish. When we signed Ok we knew he was coming from Korea’s top team, and we had heard how tough he was, “Sityodtong says, discussing Ok’s rapid rise in the ONE lightweight division.
“Ok Rae Yoon, beat Eddie Alvarez convincingly and dominated him; he is a dangerous fighter,” he added.
Lee is still a few years away from reaching his physical peak, but anyone who has seen him fight would recognize that he is one of the most promising talents in MMA. He has stated that he plans to finish Ok in the first round. It would be another feather in his cap if he does, and a win this Friday could then see Lee decide to make a run at the ONE welterweight title, a move he has hinted at before.
“What makes him very special is his championship mindset, and he is very calm, cool, and collected mentally,” Sityodtong explains.
“He does not get swayed by the big fight, the big audience, the big buzz, the big PR. He is just a world championship fighter, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. “
UPDATE: Ok Rae Yoon def. Christian Lee via unanimous decision to become ONE lightweight champion.
Do you agree with Chatri Sityodtong? Will Christian Lee bounce back from this defeat to proves he’s the best lightweight fighter in MMA?