Adrian Lee Inspired By His Family To Become Next ONE Championship Superstar

Adrian Lee and Christian Lee

Adrian Lee is ready to follow in the footsteps of his famous fighting siblings by making waves in ONE Championship.  

The 18-year-old’s professional MMA debut comes against Antonio Mammarella at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on Prime Video, and he’s hoping his first appearance on Friday, June 7, will be the start of an illustrious career on the global stage.  

Fans have repeatedly seen Lee touted as a future star through his World Champion siblings Christian “The Warrior” Lee and “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, and he’ll get the ball rolling when he steps into the Circle for the first time at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Before he does, take a look at the lifelong journey in martial arts that has led the youngest Lee to the world’s largest martial arts organization. 

Martial Arts From Birth 

Lee was born in Oahu, Hawaii, to a Singaporean father and South Korean mother who were both veteran martial artists. 

Like his older siblings Angela, Christian, and the late Victoria “The Prodigy” Lee, Adrian was introduced to the dojo from day one and took up his training as soon as he was able to. 

He explained: 

“I’ve been on the mats ever since I learned how to walk. I think I started training around three years old.” 

Because of his early introduction and his family’s all-encompassing love for combat, it’s all the youngest brother has ever known. 

So, while Lee still occasionally enjoys some of the standard teenager pastimes, his whole life has always been centered around mixed martial arts. 

He said: 

“Everything I’m usually focused on is anything related to MMA, but occasionally I do like to play video games on the weekend.” 

Getting The Bug 

Although Lee is now driven by a desire to forge his path to greatness inside the Circle, it began much more casually. 

His father Ken was always an advocate of getting his kids into training for self-defense and the health benefits, but it was up to them whether they wanted to compete.  

Lee tried his hand at competing, testing the waters with pankration, amateur MMA, wrestling, kickboxing, and submission grappling, and he was hooked by the thrill of victory. 

Looking back on his fledgling love for competition, he said: 

“I always had a lot of fun training in MMA. However, I found that I had a true passion for it once I started competing. 

“I think I had a pretty steady and gradual increase in my skills throughout the years, but I think once I really started focusing on MMA and decided that this is something I wanted to pursue, that was when my skills were able to vastly jump.” 

Lee was already aware that MMA could be a career path because he watched his siblings become superstars in ONE.  

Eldest sister Angela won the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight MMA World Title in 2016 and held it until her retirement in 2023, and brother Christian is currently the reigning ONE Lightweight and Welterweight MMA World Champion. 

However, it wasn’t until Lee’s own championship success in the amateur ranks that he believed he could emulate his older siblings’ achievements.  

Lee revealed: 

“I think at around 13 years old when I won Worlds was when I found out that I could really do this.” 

A Family Affair 

Family has been the most important element in Lee’s rise. 

His parents have been his coaches and biggest supporters, while his siblings have paved the way and been on hand to advise him at every important junction.  

From amateur tournaments to his professional debut, he hasn’t had to look far for encouragement. 

The 18-year-old said: 

“All these big tournaments, they’re always the most nerve-wracking thing ever. But luckily, I’ve had all my siblings who’ve gone through it already, so I’ve always had their support on all of it. 

“My brother, he’s been here with me every step of the way and the main thing he tells me is to stay focused on the goal and don’t let anything distract you. 

“Angela told me a little bit about staying mentally sound, to make sure that you keep your mental health and physical health in check.” 

However, the family also had to deal with a massive loss. 

Lee was close with his sister Victoria until her devastating demise at the age of 18, but he still takes inspiration from memories of her that push him through.

Lee said: 

“Me and my sister were very close. And since we were close in age, we did everything together. 

“One quality I admired about her would probably be her determination. She was very goal-orientated and very determined and focused.” 

Entering The World’s Largest Stage 

Following a decorated run in various martial arts styles as an amateur, Lee inked a deal with ONE at 17 and will make his debut after turning 18 in March. 

Brother Christian has repeatedly cited his younger sibling as a crucial training partner for his World Championship battles, so it looks like the burgeoning Hawaiian athlete has all the tools to kickstart his professional career in style on June 7. 

Ready to enter the paid ranks, Lee said: 

“Turning pro wasn’t my decision to make. Whatever my coach said, I was ready to go. I was ready to take it. 

“I feel like I’ve been ready to enter the pro circuit for a while. However, it’s just now that my coaches believe that my skills are ready for it. That’s the reason why I started.” 

The future is bright for the Prodigy Training Center athlete, and while he does have lofty ambitions, he doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself. 

Lee sees what is possible with hard work and dedication, but he knows he has to take it one step at a time, starting with Mammarella in Bangkok. 

He said: 

“Right now the only thing on my mind is beating Antonio Mammarella. However, after that, I plan on becoming the lightweight champ and possibly two-division champ. 

“Of course, all the competition that I’ve had previous to this will help me handle the pressure. But I just believe in my training and when the time comes, I’ll be ready for it.” 

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