ONE: Back at full strength, Lee more than ready to defend belt in rematch vs Xiong
After an unsuccessful venture outside of her weight class, reigning ONE women’s atomweight world champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee is back on a familiar territory.
Lee defends her world title against ONE women’s strawweight world champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan in the main event of the historic ONE: Century on October 13 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
It has not been an easy year for the 23-year-old as she lost to Xiong when they battled for the Chinese’s World Title in ONE: A New Era last March.
She then dropped her second consecutive match in a shocker, losing to Michelle Nicolini at ONE: Masters of Destiny last July.
Now the queen is back in the division she has dominated for years and she vows to protect her turf at all costs.
“It’s always a push for me to get to this weight class, but this is my division. It’s where I am world champion,” Lee said.
“I know what it takes to get here, and I know how hard I have to work to get here. In that sense, I like it. I’m more than prepared to do what it takes for this fight,” she added. There is definitely a lot at stake. My belt is on the line. I have to defend my title.”
The Evolve MMA star shared that she is in a pretty good place mentally, even after her recent setbacks.
Lee’s back was a lingering problem in her preparation for Xiong last time, and with that in the clear, the Waipahu, Hawaii-based Singaporean is confident with her preparation this time.
“I do feel that I have fixed the mistakes going into that fight. I had prepared to the best of my abilities at that time – I was still recovering from my back injury, and that played a factor in my cardio,” Lee said.
“That is something that I made sure would not be a problem this time. I’ve lost track of how many hundreds of miles that I’ve run already. I’m feeling good. I’m feeling great.”
Lee also admitted that she was caught off guard by the much more cautious approach that the Bali MMA standout displayed in their first bout.
Xiong methodically broke down Lee in their first match, a stark contrast to her usual in-your-face style.
“I’m pretty sure her game plan was to wear me out and take me into the later rounds, and I didn’t expect that from her. I thought she was going to come out strong and push forward like she usually does in her fights, and that threw me off a little bit,” Lee admitted.
“Going into this fight, I’m prepared if she pressures forward or if I’m the one who is pressuring forward. I think, either way, the fight is going to be in my favor.”
Lee knows that she is coming in as the underdog but it is a place where she believes she can flourish.
With doubters coming in, the once-unstoppable Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt vows to display her vintage form in the biggest night of the organization which turned her into a star.
“Even though I’m the world champion, a lot of people are siding with Xiong, and that’s fine by me. It doesn’t affect me. I know that I’m the world champion of this division and I have what it takes to win this fight,” Lee said.
“I embrace being the underdog. It’s a unique situation because I did lose to her, but she’s coming into my territory. She’s coming for my belt. I’m going to defend it fiercely. I’ve fixed my mistakes, and I know that I’m going to come back 10 times stronger.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.