Earlier this week, ONE Championship featherweight contender Christian Lee hopped on a plane to Singapore to support his sister Angela in her ONE: HEART OF THE LION main event showdown with Xiong Jing Nan. Unfortunately, the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion was forced out of this main event battle with an injury while her brother was making his transpacific journey.
Christian Lee was understandably quite disappointed to hear that his sister would not be able to compete in the ONE: HEART OF THE LION main event as planned. In a strange twist of fate, however, his sister’s bad break ultimately resulted in an interesting opportunity for him.
Scrambling to bolster the ONE: HEART OF THE LION lineup with another big name, ONE Championship offered Lee a short-notice fight with Japan’s Kazuki Tokudome. He accepted the fight without hesitation.
“It’s just the way I train, the way I was brought up,” the 20-year-old told BJPENN.COM in Singapore, speaking with the kind of composure that is usually only found in the most experienced of veterans. “Me and my sister; we’re true martial artists, and true martial artists are ready and prepared to fight any time, anywhere. So when they gave me the call, I didn’t even need to think twice.”
In Kazuki Tokudome, Christian Lee will meet a versatile and battle-tested veteran who has competed in promotions like the UFC, KSW, Sengoku, DEEP and Pancrase. Despite Tokudome’s wealth of experience and proven ability to win fights from any position, Lee is confident he will come out on top in Singapore.
“He’s got good striking, good grappling, he’s very well-round,” Lee said of Tokudome. “He’s got a fast, straight left and he does have submissions in his arsenal, so I won’t be taking him lightly on the ground or on the feet. But I do feel like I’m deeper than him in every area.”
“I feel like he needs to worry about everything,” he added. “I feel like, although he’s got more experience in this matchup, I feel that he knows that he’s facing the top talent in the division.”
Heading into challenges like the one like Christian Lee faces on Friday night in Singapore, many other fighters would likely be reluctant to make a prediction for the bout. Lee, however, confidently proclaimed that he’ll submit his foe in the very first round.
“First round submission,” he said.
Those that know Christian Lee well speak incredibly highly of him — particularly of his commitment to training. Time and time again, I’ve been told that the unshakeably confident 20-year-old almost never leaves the gym.
He believes that his dedication to training will carry him to unprecedented heights as a martial artist.
“I feel like there’s no ceiling,” he said. “I’ve got big plans for my career. The first immediate goal is the Featherweight World Title.”
While Christian Lee’s primary goal is a ONE Featherweight Title win, that’s not where his ambition ends.
“I want to be a two or three-division World Champion,” he said.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/8/2018.