The 22-year-old achieved those big dreams with the support of a strong family unit. The Lee clan has molded “The Warrior” into the martial artist and person he is today, keeping him grounded on the path toward greatness.
Before he defends his ONE Lightweight World Title against undefeated #1-ranked contender Iuri Lapicus at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX on Friday, 30 October, the Singaporean-American reflects on the family moments that have brought him the most joy.
Marrying His High School Sweetheart
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2/25/20 I was blessed with the best day of my life. My best friend is now officially my beautiful wife and our two families are now one. I’ve been waiting for this day, since the moment we starting dating 7 years ago. I couldn’t be more proud to share with the world my new beginning with you.
In February, Christian officially tied the knot with his longtime partner and key supporter, Katie.
“It’s crazy because it seems like it was so long ago already, but it was just this year,” the lightweight king says. “I met my wife in high school, and we’ve known each other since we were kids, and it’s something we always talked about.
“For me, thankfully, she’s very close to my family, and my family is very fond of her as well. We have a great relationship in that sense.”
Given the global COVID-19 pandemic that’s continuing to disrupt the daily lives of people around the world, “The Warrior” is even more appreciative that he and Katie could get married before the United States was impacted.
“I’m just so grateful that we were able to have the wedding with the whole family there,” he says. “It happened right before COVID hit. It just made everything official.”
A Sibling Bond
This one is about more than just a moment together, as Christian and his sister, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, have gone through their martial arts and life journeys together.
The two are extremely close, and “The Warrior” is proud of her accomplishments – in and out of the Circle.
“She’s won the belt and defended it five times,” Christian says.
“One thing she’s always wanted is to be a mother. I’m so grateful that during this time, she can take a break from fighting and achieve her lifelong dream of being a mother, and I know her and Bruno [Pucci] are going to be great parents.
“We started in ONE Championship around the same age as well. So, we’ve been able to have each other’s backs throughout each other’s careers. We’ve been in each other’s corners for almost all of our fights and support each other along the way.”
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Congratulations to my baby sis on getting her BJJ Purple Belt, along with being the youngest MMA fighter ever signed to @onechampionship !! I am so proud of you, and I can’t wait for you to kick butt alongside @angelaleemma and I ???????? Welcome to the family trade ???? #FUTUREWORLDCHAMP #TEAMLEE
The ONE Lightweight World Champion showed his selflessness when noting that one of his biggest personal moments was when his youngest sister, Victoria, signed with ONE. He’s taken joy in watching the teenager grow as an athlete and a person.
“I’m very excited to be a part of her corner and coach her through this whole process,” Christian states.
“Not many people can say that at 16 years old, they’ve figured out what they want to do in life and be able to actually start their career. Typically, people spend their whole lives going to school and preparing for their careers, and she’s already got her career planned out for her.”
Both Angela and Christian have already gone through the growing pains that Victoria will soon meet as a professional, and “The Warrior” will use his previous experiences to help guide his younger sister.
“All of a sudden, having 10,000 social media followers and media interviews all day, no one can really understand the type of pressure that she’s under right now,” he says.
“Angela and I both started our careers at a young age, so we’re able to give her advice that we never had growing up that we had to learn along the way. I feel like it helps so much that we’re here coaching her in the gym in martial arts, but also on the mental side to deal with the pressure and how to stay focused on what’s most important.”
Early Global Experience
At 15, Christian’s father, Ken, took him to the 2013 FILA World Championships in Europe, where he tested his skills against the top amateurs in the worlds of mixed martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, pankration, and submission grappling.
Against that tough competition, he didn’t lose a single bout en route to claiming five separate World Championships.
“In those four divisions, in two days, I had 13 matches. I was able to win all 13 matches and finish all 13 of them,” Christian says. “That was the biggest moment of my life when I was 15.”
The lightweight king credits his father for giving him that opportunity and for keeping him humble along the way.
“I’m so grateful for everything that my dad’s done to help shape my life and career. The fact we were so close, my dad was always able to speak wisdom into my life at a very early age,” Christian says.
“He always told me, ‘More important than any amount of success is that you never lose track of who you are.’ I believe that’s why I continue to grow as a martial artist and continue to grow through this whole journey.”