However, one of the most important influences on his life, and his career, is his older sister, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee (9-0).
Their father, Ken, taught all of his children martial arts to equip them with self-defense skills, and to instill traditional core values into them.
That meant the siblings – born two years apart – grew up as training partners.
Both of them excelled in various disciplines, and their competitive fires burned brightly. Following multiple World Pankration Championship victories in 2012, the brother-sister duo set their sights on mixed martial arts glory.
Since that time, Christian has watched his sister’s meteoric rise, and has learned a lot from her along the way.
“There are so many lessons that Angela has taught me,” the 20-year-old admits. “She is just a great person. I could not be more proud to call her my sister.”
Her Unending Support
Angela was the first of the Lee children to launch a mixed martial arts career.
In May 2015, she made her professional debut in Singapore, and defeated Aya Saber via armbar in less than two minutes.
Christian, who was 16 at the time, was in his sister’s corner, and just seeing Angela emerge victorious in that contest – and her subsequent two bouts – served as encouragement.
“Watching Angela compete in her first three fights [inspired me],” he says.
“She is a great athlete and a great fighter, and it definitely helped to motivate me to step into the cage.”
ONE Flashback: Christian Lee's perfect ONE debut! Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, August 12, 2018
He felt ready for his first career bout at ONE: SPIRIT OF CHAMPIONS in Manila, Philippines, that December.
His sister was also competing at the show, and she joined him cageside. Knowing she was there made everything go smoother.
“We actually fought on the same card when I made my pro debut,” he continues. “It always helps to be there in each other’s corners.”
At that show, both Lees walked away with victories – Christian defeated David Meak by TKO, and Angela submitted Lena Tkhorevska via rear-naked choke.
That marked the beginning of a long, and prosperous, tradition. The siblings have been in each other’s corners ever since that fateful night – even when they have the added pressure of challenging for a World Title on the same evening.
Her Ability To Overcome Adversity
One of the things Christian most admires about his older sister is her inner strength.
In 2015, Angela left the comfort of home behind for a chance to build up her skills in order to accomplish her goals. She traveled halfway across the globe to work with new coaches and sparring partners in Southeast Asia, and expanded her martial arts education.
“Angela is an extremely strong woman,” he begins.
“At 19 years old, she flew to Singapore to train at Evolve, and she stayed out there for almost a year by herself in a foreign country, training to win a World Title.”
That motivated “The Warrior” to follow her to improve his skills, and gave him more drive for his own pursuit of becoming a World Champion.
However, he cites another episode that defined his admiration for the immense mental and emotional fortitude of his older sibling.
“At 20 years old, she defended her belt for the second time in Singapore against Istela Nunes, and fought with pneumonia,” he recalls.
Despite serious illness, Angela submitted the Brazilian to retain her belt and her spotless record. As always, Christian was there to support his sister, and witnessed this incredible feat first-hand.
Her Constant Presence
The Lee siblings are driven to become the best mixed martial artists on the planet, and they have already achieved so much in their young careers.
There will undoubtedly be much more adversity on their paths to greatness, but they have each other to lean on. Teamwork makes the dream work, and this brother-sister duo is putting in maximum effort, together, to turn their dreams into a reality.
“Every day, we are in the gym,” Christian says. “We are grinding together, we are training hard, and we are best friends.”
Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast