Christian Lee is fast becoming one of the most exciting fighters on the ONE Championship roster.
A multiple Junior Pankration World Champion with a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he was voted ‘Most Outstanding Athlete’ at the 2013 FILA World Championship after winning five world titles across the disciplines of BJJ, pankration, MMA and grappling. He also holds a first degree black belt in taekwondo.
All this at the ripe old age of just 18 years.
This weekend Lee will be looking for his sixth straight win under the ONE Championship banner, but must first get through Australian fighter Martin Nguyen, whose only loss has come at the hand of ONE’s reigning featherweight champion, Marat Gafurov.
Nguyen has proved to be formidable force in the featherweight division. To date he has gone the distance and taken wins over Edward Kelly, Rocky Batolbatol and Li Kai Wen, who he finished via TKO in the first round.
Lee says he understands this and will be looking to make a statement at The Venetian’s Cotai Arena.
IF I CAN GO OUT THERE AND DELIVER A DEVASTATING PERFORMANCE, I HOPE TO PUT MY NAME IN TITLE CONTENTION.
“Martin Nguyen is a big name and he has championship experience,” Lee told ROUGH during a media tour in Hong Kong. “But if I can go out there and deliver a devastating performance, I hope to put my name in title contention.”
The younger brother of ONE women’s atomweight world champion Angela Lee, Christian Lee made his pro debut last year with a 29-second finish of David Meak. He quickly followed that up with an impressive kimura submission of Mahmoud Mohamed and has since gone on to defeat Anthony Engelen, Cary Bullos and Rocky Batolbatol – all within the first round.
His unorthodox and unpredictable striking techniques, as well as technical and creative submissons, have so far proved to be too much for any opponent.
“I go in with the mindset that it’s a fight. I don’t go in thinking it’s a game or a competition, I’m going in there to finish my opponent as quick as possible.”
So will a win against Nguyen be enough for the top brass of ONE Championship to put Lee in front of Gafurov? It’s an illustrious proposition.
Gafurov has won every single fight so far in his MMA career. In 2012 he captured the M-1 145 lbs title and successfully defended it twice before signing with ONE in 2014.
Since then he has stopped two top contenders in the opening round and his title shot against Narantungalag Jadambaa was an incredible display of physical and mental strength.
But Lee says he is up to the task.
“I love to fight, this is what I love to do. I’m hoping for a title shot.”
Should he get a win, some argue there’s no real rush towards a world title.
“At 18 years old, there’s surely no rush to put him in with Gafurov, but it would be hard not to rank him among the top five featherweights on the ONE Championship roster,” Fox Sports presenter Steve Dawson recently said.
Either way, fans are in for a treat.