Christian “The Warrior” Lee (6-1) wants to be in the upper echelon of ONE Championship’s talent-rich featherweight division. In just a few days, the 19-year-old will have the chance to make that long-desired breakthrough happen.
On Friday, 18 August, the Singaporean will clash with another highly-regarded prospect in Malaysia’s Keanu Subba (5-2) at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS, live from the Stadium Negara in his opponent’s hometown of Kuala Lumpur.
“I feel he is going to come out confident and be the best version of himself,” Lee states. “And I feel whoever wins this match will be catapulted to the top of this division.”
Following an August 2016 loss to the only man to defeat him, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, who is challenging ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov for the belt on the night, Lee took a much-needed break from competition.
Lee vowed to bring a more patient approach in his return at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY this past April. Though he was originally supposed to meet Subba then, the Malaysian was forced out with an untimely injury, and rwas eplaced with “The Werewolf” Wan Jian Ping on two weeks’ notice.
Despite not being familiar with his new opponent, “The Warrior” was up for the challenge. He made good on his promise of patience in the early going, and ultimately stunned Wan with a few solid shots, took him down, and ground-and-pounded en route to a first-round TKO victory.
Although it was part of his plan, there was another reason he was so tentative during the match. “I had no idea who Wan Jian Ping was, or how he competes. So when he came out really aggressive, I needed a little bit of time to feel his speed and his power. I did not want to rush in on an unknown opponent. But once I felt out his game, it was no problem. It was just more about playing it smart,” he explains.
“It is more about adapting in the moment, and trusting in your own skill set. Whoever is put in front of me, no matter how short the notice is, I am going to take him out. I do not need to have watched video on my opponent, and I do not even need to know his name.”
Now, his highly-anticipated bout against Subba has been rescheduled for Friday, 18 August, at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS. Knowing the importance of this particular battle, he is diligently training harder, and smarter, than ever before.
After his daily 5 a.m. runs, Lee’s day begins at United MMA around 9 in the morning, where he will warm up and stretch for an hour. From then until noon, he will work with either one of his main training partners, or his head coach and father Ken Lee.
After taking some time off, “The Warrior” returns to the gym around 4 p.m. and teaches for the next couple of hours. Then, from 6 to 8 p.m., he will get another solid session in with his father or other respective training partners. Finally, he will end with nearly an hour’s worth of strength and conditioning.
Between top-notch coaching, his elite talent, and an extensive training routine, Lee is convinced that he will not only defeat Subba this coming Friday, but anyone else who gets in the way of his path to greatness.
“My confidence just comes from my hard work. If you do not put in the work, then you will not have the real belief in yourself that you have done enough to beat your opponent,” he begins. “I know I have trained harder than any of the other featherweights in the division. So I know when I go into the match, all I need to do is perform to the best of my ability.”
He continues: “I know through my training and coaching that I am going to come out on top. I feel I have the best skill set in the division, I have the best coach in the world, and I train at the best two gyms in the world. All the odds are in my favor. I train too hard for this. So when I go into the bout with Keanu (Subba), I have no doubt this victory is mine.”