Hawaii: ONE Championship™ (ONE) athletes, reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee, and rising atomweight star Victoria “The Prodigy” Lee, spoke to members of the media from all around the world in a special Zoom session beamed live from their home in Mililani, Hawaii.
Angela discussed her thoughts on the recently concluded quarterfinal round of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix, being a fighter and a mother, and her impending return to the Circle. Meanwhile, Christian and Victoria discussed their matchups at the upcoming ONE: REVOLUTION, which is scheduled for Friday, 24 September. Christian will defend his lightweight throne against #3-ranked lightweight contender, Ok Rae Yoon, while Victoria makes her third appearance of the year, this time against Victoria Souza.
Hear what they had to say about their coming bouts:
On the Seo Hee Ham vs. Denice Zamboanga bout:
It was a close fight. In my eyes, I did see Denice edging out the victory. It’s always hard when it goes to the judges’ hands. There have been bad calls before. I’ve been on the bad end of a decision before, and of course, it is frustrating and that’s why I make it a point to always try for the finish because if you leave it in the judges’ hands, you never know what will happen. Anyone on the bad end of a decision is going to call for it to be reviewed. Neither of them was close to finishing the fight. If there was a near finish, I think that would be the deciding factor.
On Seo Hee Ham’s performance:
I think there weren’t too many things in the fight that kind of stood out. Like there wasn’t any near finish. I think that she has a lot of experience but I do think, you know, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I respect her experience but we’ll see how she does against the girls in this Grand Prix. Because the girls are exciting. They are young. They are hungry. I’m excited to see this next matchup of rounds and how the fans are going to match them up. I think that it is very cool how ONE is going to be putting that frame of choice into the fans’ hands. I would like to see Ritu and Itsuki, and Stamp and Seo Hee Ham.
On fighting Denice Zamboanga:
I think it could happen. If she does end up falling out of the Grand Prix and if she fights, say Meng Bo, if those two match up and if she wins, I think yeah sure. I just don’t think you can have a shot at the title coming off a loss. I think she needs to fight someone before getting that title shot.
Who do you see going to the final of the GP:
All of the matches were exciting. Who do I see in the finals? Maybe potentially Stamp [Fairtex] and Ritu [Phogat].
On motherhood and returning to action:
Motherhood is amazing. It has definitely changed me. It’s different training now. Definitely have to schedule things far in advance. Everything needs to be flexible because of the baby. But I’m very excited to get back in there. I’ve started to train again alongside my brother and sister as they get ready for their fights. After this event in September, we are going to be kicking it into gear and getting my fight camp started. I’m very excited about that. I think fighting in February is going to be great for me. It is going to give me even more time to come back even stronger.
On trash talking:
I think that a lot of the time, it comes off as fake. That’s the thing. Everybody wants to see the drama, they want to hype up the fight. They want to get the fans excited but sometimes it just comes off as corny. Honestly, for me, this whole time that I’ve been a pro fighter, I’ve always wanted to stay true to myself and be authentic. I can’t pull it off. If I start talking crap about someone, it’s just going to sound ridiculous. Whenever someone starts talking a lot of trash, for me, oftentimes, it seems to me that they are just overlooking me. They are too confident in themselves, or they are just trying to start some drama to hype it up. I just look past it all. What counts the most is what happens when the cage door closes.
On going after the strawweight belt:
Definitely, 100%. After I face the winner of this Grand Prix, I’m going to move up to the strawweight division and whoever is the champion at that time, I’m hoping to challenge them and that’s one of my goals, to capture that strawweight belt.
On not vacating the atomweight title:
These aren’t normal times. There is a global pandemic going on which has made it difficult to host a lot of events. It has been hard for everyone around the world. I do think that what Chatri did kind of made a statement for everyone. It’s not because I am a poster girl. It’s because this is just a given right. I think that I worked so hard to get to the position I am at, and just because I got pregnant and I want to have a baby, I shouldn’t be stripped of my title, something I worked towards. ONE has shown the way of what the standard should be. When a woman gets pregnant, in her work, she is supported. She has a job to come back to afterward. I think I am very lucky and I think that is going to come with a lot of criticism and a lot of hate. But I know how hard I worked for this and I am not going to have that taken from me. (If I vacate the title) then who would fight for it?
On sharing a card with Victoria:
With me being the champion, headlining this event, I’m really excited to have Victoria with me as well. We’re going to put on a great show for the fans. I’m excited to be heading to Singapore together with her.
On Eddie Alvarez deserving a title shot:
In my opinion, Ok Rae Yoon is the only guy deserving of the title shot right now. He’s ranked #3 in the division. He’s the only guy in the top five I haven’t faced yet. Eddie Alvarez was a big name coming over from the UFC. When ONE Championship signed him, he had a lot of traction behind him. But since then, he hasn’t done enough to build himself a run-up to the title. I’m still waiting on Eddie to win a few fights and then we can square off in the Circle. But for now, I’m very glad to be facing Ok, and I feel like he’s the only worthy contender.
On Eddie Alvarez fighting his way to contention:
That’s definitely a fight the fans want to see. All we’re really waiting for is for Eddie to win a fight, and then we’ll make it happen. I’m not looking past Ok Rae Yoon, at all. But once I get past my next opponent and defend my belt, then I’m looking forward to seeing what Eddie can do in the division.
On his ultimate goal for next year:
I plan on clearing out the lightweight division by the end of this year. And after Ok Rae Yoon, if Eddie can work his way up, he might be up there. But really, the lightweight division has been cleared out. Next year, I plan on being a double champ and continuing to defend my belt in the lightweight division as well.
On her third fight in 2021:
Going into my third bout, I feel more comfortable. There’s a lot less ‘newness’ to everything. I feel that I have been able to improve on my second camp and this camp has been going on smoothly.
On her opponent, Victoria Souza:
I think that my next opponent is tough. She has a 5-0 record and I think it is going to be an exciting match because we are both finishers and I don’t think it is going to go the distance. For this match, I plan on finishing her in the first round.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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