The wait for the return of ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee (8-0) is almost over.
After a year away from competition, the 21-year-old is scheduled to compete again on Friday, 18 May. She will defend her coveted title against Japanese veteran Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi at the historic ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The five-round battle won several Bout Of The Year awards and set the standard for women’s mixed martial arts everywhere, setting the stage for an epic main event.
Now, as they prepare to collide for the second time, the undefeated Singaporean hero is convinced the result will be more decisive this time around.
“I am really excited,” Lee begins.
“First of all, we faced each other two years back, so I have an idea of what her style is. I know what she has been working on. Since our first match, I have had two really great title defenses.
“I got to show how my game is evolving, and I have been working to tighten everything up and sharpen my skills everywhere. I feel really confident going into this match. I think it will go according to the game plan, and I cannot wait to be back.”
Originally, following a pair of successful title defenses over black belt judoka Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang and Brazilian knockout artist Istela Nunes, the atomweight queen was scheduled to clash with Yamaguchi for the second time at ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT last November.
However, a car accident in Hawaii forced her out of the contest. She sustained minor injuries, and was emotionally shaken, meaning she was in no condition to compete.
However, though Lee may have withdrawn from the match-up, she still traveled to Singapore with her family to meet with fans and support her teammates who were competing that night, including new headliners Ben Askren and Shinya Aoki, as well as Amir Khan and Leandro “Brodinho” Issa.
She also watched Yamaguchi defeat Gina “Conviction” Iniong, and shared a heartwarming moment with the Japanese warrior backstage.
“She is a great person,” Lee says of Yamaguchi.
“I was in the warm-up room, and had to do [media] obligations, and I saw Mei. I went over to her and apologized, but she said, ‘No, don’t apologize. Take as much time as you need to get better, and I will see you then.’ I mean, where do you find people like that? I don’t even know!
“People are like, ‘Even though you two are friendly towards each other, how are you going to be able to step into the cage and punch each other in the face?’ It just comes down to business. You’ve got to do what you got to do, whether you like the person or not. You have to get the job done.”
Now, Lee is healed, both physically and emotionally, and prepared to defend the title she won against Yamaguchi in Singapore.
The United MMA and Evolve MMA product will not be satisfied with another unanimous decision victory, however. She is looking to make a statement against the Japanese veteran, who is the only athlete to take her the distance in her career.
Lee has certainly grown since their last bout, as she developed a world-class striking game with the Muay Thai world champions in Singapore, and earned a promotion to black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
With an assortment of sharpened skills at her disposal, Lee fully expects to finish Yamaguchi.
“That is just my fight style,” she says.
“The way I fight just leads me to these quick finishes, and these quick victories, which is great because I take as little damage as possible so I can try to have a long career.
“For [my brother] Christian and I, the way we fight is very explosive, we are very dynamic, and we always mix it up. I think that is how we get all these awesome victories.”
Competing at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS will be extra special for the “Unstoppable” champion, because Christian will challenge for a belt, too. He faces two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen for the ONE Featherweight World Title in the co-main event.
This marks the first time in history siblings will compete for world championships on the same night, and if successful, they could make even more history as titleholders.
Lee had previously said her dream was for them to compete in the main and co-main event on the same card. Now, they have achieved that, with more at stake than they could have even imagined.
“Boom. [We can become the] first brother-sister world champions. That is the goal. That is what we have been talking about ever since we were 16,” she revealed.
In just a few weeks, their chance to realize their shared dream could finally become reality.