ONE: Christian Lee - Singapore's Savior

ONE: Christian Lee - Singapore's Savior

He’s not just the younger brother of ONE Championship’s Atomweight champion, Angela Lee.

He marked his debut by knocking out his opponent in 29 seconds when he was just 17 years old.

He is labelled “The Warrior” and renowned for his explosive fighting style.

He is currently contending for the Lightweight title with veteran Shinya Aoki (43-8) at just 20 years old. He is a legend in the making. He is Christian Lee.

Just like his sister, the Chinese-Singaporean fighter was born in Canada and raised in Hawaii where he began his fighting education. As a toddler, he learned the foundation patterns of fighting such as how to punch, kick, and fall – definitely things that you wouldn’t usually teach a child who’s still learning to tie his laces.

Christian, with his sister Angela, who is the ONE Atomweight World Champion.

Nevertheless, he was born into the fighting life as both parents were instructors at their own MMA academies and were deeply entrenched in the sport.

His Father, Ken Lee, also played a big role in reinstating the sport called ‘Pankration’ into the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It would hardly be a surprise if their son would follow in their footsteps and sure enough, he did.

Initially, Christian found his training to be tough. He said, “Growing up, I didn’t always enjoy training in martial arts. Everything about martial arts is hard and as a kid, you always lean towards doing things the easy way. I’m so thankful that my parents instilled the discipline in me to keep at it.”

They began teaching Lee more complex moves from the various martial art forms and before he knew it, he developed a passionate love for the martial arts and was raring to go out to fight competitively, a wish that finally came true in 2012 when he won his first national competition.

Over time, he competed on the international stage and was victorious as he won 6 amateur world titles within two years. Following this, he realised his dream was to become an MMA champion as he proclaimed to his parents that he would one day fight professionally.

Three years later in 2015, the dream finally became a reality when he signed his first professional contract with the MMA group, Evolve Fight Team.

During this time, he trained hard while balancing his studies as well so that he could graduate high school and train to be good enough to make his debut.

Soon, he got his wish as he came up against the Australian, David Meak (1-5), in his very first fight. The bout ended almost as quickly as it began with quick blows leaving Meak clinging onto the cage while on the ground, forcing the referee to call a TKO.

In a fit of jubilation, Lee climbed onto the cage and pumped his fists in the air, celebrating the first of many triumphs in ONE Championship.

All those 5am mornings that he awoke to runs and weight training was worth the pain as he achieved his dream of fighting professionally. However, that virgin round was just a little taste for what was about to come next.

In his subsequent four fights, Lee stunned all his opponents, knocking them out within the first round. His aggressive and resilient fighting style helped end those matches quickly.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and so did his winning streak. The high school graduate got schooled when he came up against featherweight champion, Martin Nguyen, in which he slipped up to let ‘The Situ-Asian’ defeat him in the first round with a guillotine choke.

Martin Nguyen is undoubtedly one of the best in the promotion.

Following this defeat, he realised that he needed to improve himself even more if he was to ever become a champion and went into an eight month hiatus. When he returned, he was much sharper, more well-prepared, and even stronger than before.

He continued another winning streak against Wan Jian Ping (3-4), Keanu Subba (7-4), Kotetsu Boku (26-13), and Kazunori Yokota (26-9).

Eventually, a rematch with Nguyen was set up and a chance at redemption was there for the taking for Lee.

Sadly, life isn’t a fairy-tale and he lost the rematch although this was a much closer fight that was decided in a split decision by the judges.

He also lost his second consecutive fight to Edward Kelly (12-6), due to disqualification for an illegal suplex on him.

But he didn’t get discouraged as he won his next fight against Kazuki Tokudome (19-10) and faced Kelly once again for the second rematch of his career. This time, he made no mistake and finished the fight in the first round as he usually does. For him, he finally made up for the loss by winning his first ever career rematch.

He may have missed a chance for redemption in the fight against Nguyen, but he proved one thing – that he never gives up and is always willing to improve.

Typical young fighters would have let their egos get the better of them but Christian Lee is not your average fighter. He is always looking for ways to improve and never stops working to get the results he desires. It is this very attitude that has moved critics to tout him as the next big thing in MMA.

The young Singaporean “Warrior” still has much time in his career to etch his name in the annals of the MMA.

He already has an outstanding record for winning most of his fights in the first round (9 out of 11) because of his quick movements and relentlessness and this boy is just getting started.

Currently, he boasts the highest finish rate of ONE Championship at 100% as all his 11 wins were either by knockout or submission. With so much pressure put on him at such a young age, he has also proven that it is not an issue as his overwhelming success looks set to continue.

Image result for christian lee shinya
The title fight against Shinya Aoki is the biggest in Christian Lee’s career so far.

His upcoming battle for the Lightweight championship against Shinya Aoki (43-8) is a fight in the weight class above his usual. Aoki chose to fight Christian Lee because he believes that the young fighter is one of the best.

Aoki said, “I called out Christian because I think he is the best, not only in Asia but also in the world.”

Should he win the fight, he could become the youngest MMA champion in ONE Championship, just like his sister.

Out of the shadows, another World Champion is hopeful to be crowned from the Lee family.

Catch ONE: Enter The Dragon live at Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 17.

You can get your tickets here at https://www.sportshub.com.sg/ONEChampionship

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