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Reliving Xiong Jing Nan’s Dominant Reign As ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion

Sep 5, 2022
Xiong Jing Nan celebrates her ONE Strawweight World Championship defense at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.

“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan is currently preparing for the seventh defense of her ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 2 on Friday, September 30.

This time, the Chinese superstar will be facing a familiar foe in ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee. Their highly anticipated trilogy comes three years after they split a pair of thrilling World Title contests while defending their respective belts in 2019.

Outside of her loss to Lee at atomweight, “The Panda” has been nothing short of dominant in ONE Championship.

Across her seven World Title bouts at strawweight, fans have seen the 34-year-old develop from a power-punching brawler into a composed, well-rounded mixed martial artist (and still with loads of punching power).

Ahead of her main event showdown with Lee at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, let’s take a fight-by-fight look at Xiong’s impressive ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title reign.

Captures Inaugural Belt Against Tiffany Teo

“The Panda” claimed the division’s inaugural World Title in one of the most brutal beatdowns of 2018 when she demolished Tiffany Teo at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE.

Over the course of 17 minutes, Xiong attacked at a torrid pace, landing powerful looping hooks on the feet, trip takedowns from the clinch, and relentless ground-and-pound.

The finish came in the fourth round when Teo succumbed to a barrage of punches. From start to finish, “The Panda” was an offensive dynamo with a seemingly endless gas tank and a refusal to take a single step backward.

With the win, Xiong not only announced herself as the strawweight queen, but she also made history by becoming the first-ever Chinese MMA World Champion.

Dominates Laura Balin Across Five Rounds

In the first defense of her gold, Xiong showed a slightly more cerebral strategy as she dismantled Argentinian submission specialist Laura Balin to win a clear-cut decision at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in June 2018.

The opening frames saw the titleholder use her trademark aggression to dominate the challenger on both the feet and the mat, landing thunderous punches and heavy ground strikes.

For her part, Balin displayed great durability to avoid a finish, forcing “The Panda” to slow the pace and take a more measured, methodical approach in the closing rounds.

However, Xiong still cruised to the victory as she picked apart her foe at range with punches and leg kicks and avoided any and all danger on the ground.

In the process, the Evolve MMA representative proved she had the grit, endurance, and fight IQ to win a 25-minute contest.

Wrecks Samara Santos With Third-Round TKO

Later in 2018, Xiong battled Brazilian grappler Samara Santos on home soil in Shanghai at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.

On this occasion, the Chinese titleholder survived an early scare, as Santos took her back in a standing position just over a minute into the fight.

However, Xiong patiently defended, escaped the position, and quickly turned the tide with a flurry of strikes that she punctuated with a flying knee, putting the challenger on the canvas. 

In the second, “The Panda” found her groove as she stalked Santos around the ring, landing punch-kick combinations seemingly at will before securing a late-round takedown.

The finish then came in the third frame, as the Brazilian finally crumbled under the pressure of Xiong’s relentless striking.

That TKO victory set up a highly anticipated showdown with then-undefeated ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.

Epic Comeback Against Angela Lee

Xiong’s third World Title defense was one of the best fights – and comebacks – of 2019.

At ONE: A NEW ERA, reigning atomweight queen Lee moved up in weight to challenge for Xiong’s strawweight strap. And the first three rounds featured a close, competitive contest in which “Unstoppable” hunted for and occasionally landed takedowns while Xiong looked to land strikes on the feet.

In the fourth, though, Lee pulled ahead with an early takedown and positional dominance on the mat. She then attacked with a tight armbar, bending the Chinese star’s arm at a grotesque angle. 

Somehow, “The Panda” escaped that submission and survived to the final roundn – where she mounted a miraculous turnaround.

After hurting “Unstoppable” with body strikes, Xiong sensed her opportunity and overwhelmed her tired challenger with a familiar barrage of strikes, forcing a referee stoppage at 1:37 of the fifth frame.

Beats A Game Teo In Rematch

Nearly three years after defeating Teo to claim the belt, Xiong met the Singaporean again for her fourth World Title defense at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX in October 2020.

In a much more calculated approach than the first meeting, “The Panda” outclassed her opponent on the feet, showcasing her pinpoint striking and solid takedown defense across five hard-fought rounds.

Despite a late takedown from the challenger, Xiong’s work in the stand-up did plenty to earn her the unanimous decision victory.

And although she didn’t get the finish, the strawweight queen displayed her evolution as a mixed martial artist, fighting not just aggressively but also strategically for five full rounds.

Cruises To Victory Against Michelle Nicolini

Xiong next defended her gold against 13-time BJJ World Champion Michelle Nicolini at ONE: EMPOWER in September 2021.

The defending World Champion set the tone early by dropping Nicolini with a powerful right hand in the opening minutes.

From there, “The Panda” was rarely in danger, as she peppered the submission specialist with piston-like punches for the vast majority of the contest.

The challenger was able to successfully pull guard on a couple of occasions, but Xiong once again proved that she’s much more than a boxer by avoiding any real submission threats.

In the end, that dominance allowed her to score the unanimous decision victory.

Never In Trouble Against Ayaka Miura

Xiong’s sixth and most recent World Title defense came this past January against powerhouse Japanese grappler Ayaka Miura at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.

Yet again, “The Panda” leaned on her stellar takedown defense and explosive striking to dictate the pace and position of the fight.

Despite the challenger’s best efforts to secure a takedown, the bout remained standing for all five rounds. 

It was clear that Xiong was well-prepared to deal with Miura’s clinch takedowns, and any time the fight was at range, she landed punches with incredible accuracy.

While she was unable to earn a stoppage, “The Panda” never once found herself in legitimate trouble, further solidifying her status as the best women’s strawweight fighter in the world.

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