ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee and ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Champion Stamp Fairtex are two of the organization’s biggest stars, and both have ruled over the weight class in different sports on the global stage.
Next, Stamp will challenge Lee in the main event of ONE X on Saturday, 26 March, to determine the best atomweight mixed martial artist on the planet.
This is a fight that fans have been eagerly anticipating, as both competitors have been dominant forces in the Circle. Let’s look back at their respective journeys in ONE before they cross paths at the historic 10-year anniversary spectacle at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Lee Becomes Youngest MMA World Champion
Lee was just 18 years old when she debuted in the ONE Circle, and her first-round armbar victory over Aya Saber at ONE: WARRIOR’S QUEST in May 2015 quickly thrust her name into the world of mixed martial arts.
It was the beginning of a five-bout winning streak that saw Lee finish each of her opponents by submission, a feat that earned her a shot at Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi for the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title.
They met at ONE: ASCENT TO POWER in May 2016, and after five hard-fought rounds, 19-year-old Lee earned the judges’ nod and became the youngest athlete in history to win an MMA World Title.
The Singaporean-American then successfully defended her gold three times – all while a young Thai phenom was preparing to take over the atomweight kickboxing and Muay Thai divisions.
Stamp Enters ONE Super Series
After a successful showing at ONE Warrior Series 2, Stamp debuted in the promotion’s all-striking league in October 2018. And at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES, she defeated “Killer Bee” Kai Ting Chuang to win the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title.
At just 21 years old, the Thai had become the first two-sport World Champion in ONE history.
While the Thai was dominating the kickboxing and Muay Thai worlds, “Unstoppable” attempted to become a two-division ONE World Champion by stepping up in weight.
Lee Falls At Strawweight, Earns Redemption At Atomweight
Although the Evolve and United MMA representative took China’s first MMA World Champion into deep waters, she ultimately succumbed to a crushing body blow in the fifth round.
With that, Lee returned to atomweight, where she rematched old foe Xiong in a massive showdown at ONE: CENTURY PART I in October 2019. This time, the Chinese star was making her own attempt to become a two-division ONE World Champion.
However, the Singaporean-American earned sweet redemption against Xiong, as she locked in a rear-naked choke with just seconds remaining in the fifth round.
By avenging her previous loss, “Unstoppable” defended her ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title for the fourth time – and proved herself as the unquestioned queen of the division.
Stamp Moves To MMA
Right before Lee hemmed up loose ends against Xiong, Stamp made her big-stage debut in the all-encompassing sport of MMA against Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka in August 2019.
At ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, the seasoned striker displayed her improved grappling chops with a third-round rear-naked choke of the Indian – and immediately, the MMA world began taking her seriously.
The Thai’s passion for mixed martial arts was continuing to grow, and her skill set was leveling up, but she had to make a heavy decision. Should she keep competing in all three sports, or should she focus on only one?
Stamp’s next two bouts would answer that question, as she lost both her ONE World Titles – the kickboxing gold to former foe Todd and the Muay Thai crown to organizational newcomer Allycia Hellen Rodrigues.
With that, the Fairtex megastar stated that she would aim for a third World Title, this time in MMA.
She promptly defeated Sunisa “Thunderstorm” Srisen at ONE: NO SURRENDER in July 2020, and talks about a future matchup between Stamp and “Unstoppable” began circulating throughout the combat sports world.
However, the divisional landscape was about to change drastically.
Lee Takes Hiatus, Stamp Takes Controversial Loss
As Stamp and a handful of other female atomweights began entering – and dominating – the division, Lee announced that she was pregnant and would take time away from MMA to focus on motherhood.
Top contender Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga asked Lee to relinquish her World Title while on hiatus, but the controversial request sparked fervor. “Unstoppable” quickly fired back, saying the only path to the belt ran through her.
Stamp, on the sidelines of the argument, obliged. She kept training and kept competing, this time against Alyona Rassohyna at ONE: UNBREAKABLE III in January 2021. That evening, the Thai put on a classic performance of striking, which she combined with her evolving ground game.
However, with just seven seconds left in the final round, Stamp seemingly tapped to a guillotine choke. She immediately contested the ruling, but the video showed what the referee first saw. The Thai, defeated and deflated, had suffered her first loss in MMA.
ONE Announces Atomweight World Grand Prix
Zamboanga may have sparked some controversy when she asked Lee to let others compete for the belt, but what came out of it was the 2021 ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
The tournament would pit eight of the world’s best atomweights against each other, with the winner receiving a coveted silver belt – along with the next shot at Lee’s World Title.
In an interesting twist, the Thai drew old tormentor Rassohyna in the quarterfinal round, where she vowed to bounce back from the controversial defeat. And in their rematch at ONE: EMPOWER that September, she squeaked out a split-decision win over the Ukrainian to book a spot in the semifinals
Next up was a date with Brazilian Julie Mezabarba at ONE: NEXTGEN, where Stamp coasted to a unanimous decision win, securing her spot in the tournament final against former Indian Wrestling Champion Phogat.
Stamps Stuns Phogat, Earns Challenge Of Lee At ONE X
At ONE: WINTER WARRIORS in December 2021, the stage was set. Stamp would battle Phogat in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final for the opportunity to challenge Lee in a World Title showdown.
Despite Phogat’s significant wrestling experience and expertise on the ground, Stamp pulled off a shocking armbar submission only two minutes into the second round.
The surprising finish led to a jubilant celebration from the Thai, who also sent a clear warning to Lee that her all-around MMA game had grown by leaps and bounds.
With that, the Lee vs. Stamp ONE Atomweight World Title fight was announced for ONE X, and now, we’re just weeks away from one of the most anticipated encounters in all of combat sports.
In less than three years, Stamp has amassed an 8-1 record in mixed martial arts, with six of those wins coming by either submission or KO.
Lee, meanwhile, hasn’t competed in more than two years. But she’s motivated by motherhood and believes her extra years of experience in MMA will make the difference.
Whether the longtime titleholder retains her belt or the rising challenger becomes an unprecedented three-sport ONE World Champion, fans will witness a piece of history on Saturday, 26 March.