Christian “The Warrior” Lee has never backed down from a challenge, which meant he did not think twice when he was offered the toughest match of his career.
In the main event of ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON, the Singaporean will jump up a division to challenge for the ONE Lightweight World Title against the most dangerous submission artist in the history of mixed martial arts – Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki.
Legend vs. Phenom. Teammate vs. Teammate. Finisher vs. Finisher. Shinya Aoki vs. Christian Lee! Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, April 28, 2019
It is hardly surprising that the Evolve and United MMA representative would take such a leap considering he has swum with the sharks since he began his professional career – and even before that.
The former ONE Featherweight World Title contender first stepped into the Circle when he was 17, and though he was not old enough to go to college, he was going one-on-one with grown men.
Even then, he had no fear of accepting any challenge.
“I feel like it’s something within me,” Lee says.
“It goes all the way back with my upbringing – the way that my father raised me and my sister and the way that we trained growing up as kids. Starting my martial arts journey, it was always about self-defense. It was about self-defense first.
“When I was 12 years old, I was mixed martial arts sparring with the adults. When I was 14 years old, I was sparring with professional fighters. I’ve never been scared to fight someone older. I’ve never been scared to fight someone heavier. I’ve gone my whole career with that belief in myself.”
Christian Lee's personal mantra What's yours?Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, April 18, 2019
Without that confidence in his abilities, Lee would never have reached so high, or had such success on the global stage for martial arts.
It is an attribute that has been built into him from a young age when he first started training. Without it, all of an athlete’s training can count for virtually nothing under the lights.
However, “The Warrior” admits that he has not always been so sure of himself.
“Self-belief is the most important thing in martial arts,” Lee explains.
“You could have all the tools in the world, but if you don’t believe that you have the skills to do so, you simply won’t be able to do it.
“I credit that towards my years of competing as a child. When I was younger, I used to get very nervous before competitions. All the way up until my pro debut. I was so nervous the night before I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Luckily, I went in there and had a great result.”
What will it take for Christian Lee to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a ONE World Champion?Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, April 16, 2019
To this day, Lee says he still deals with some of that nervous energy going into every bout. However, he now knows how to harness it to his advantage.
Now, instead of overwhelming him, it fuels his dominant performances in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“14 fights later, now going into my 15th fight with ONE Championship, it’s not that the nerves aren’t there. The nerves will always be there, but I’m never scared,” Lee says.
“I never have fear in my heart going into a match or competition. The nerves are there just to keep me sharp, to keep me on edge. You need a little bit of that to keep your mind sharp going into a contest, but it’s important to never have fear in your heart. The nerves are good, but fear is never good.”
That mindset will be essential against Aoki in Singapore. The Japanese icon has 43 wins as a mixed martial artist, including 31 by stoppage, and should be the bigger and stronger athlete.
However, Lee will come into the match thinking he has every chance of causing what would be an upset in most fans’ eyes.
To become the ONE Lightweight World Champion on 17 May, Christian Lee's got to take out another Japanese legend in Shinya Aoki!Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, April 26, 2019
That is not born from delusions of grandeur or arrogance, but faith in the skills honed through countless hours in the gym throughout his life.
He might not have as much experience as his upcoming opponent, but he is a BJJ black belt, and his résumé boasts more wins by TKO than Aoki’s.
By the time he steps into the Circle, Lee will have left no stone unturned in his training. Furthermore, he has tested himself against “Tobkian Judan” in sparring sessions before. The only difference this time is that millions of people will be watching.
“It’s not being cocky or arrogant, it’s just that I train so hard every day that I know no matter who is in front of me, I can find a way to win,” Lee says.
“If they’re better than me in one area or every area, there’s always a way to win, and I feel no matter who I’m up against, I can find a way to win.
“I love those challenges. I love experiencing new things. That’s how I approach everything in my life.”
Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19