The ONE Atomweight World Champion was scheduled to move a division to face “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan for the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title in November, but a back injury ruled her out of the contest.
That forced the 22-year-old Singaporean to spend the holidays resting, recovering and thinking about the opportunity that slipped through her fingers.
However, her spell on the sidelines has only given her more time to think about the match, which was rescheduled for 31 March as part of ONE Championship’s biggest event ever.
Now, she is fired up to take on the challenge of becoming the first two-division women’s World Champion in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“I think [my injury] made me that much hungrier and that much more motivated over the holidays,” Lee says.
“That was the only thing on my mind. I was just focusing on my recovery so I could get back in the gym and start training for the fight again.
“I was thrilled when ONE Championship said I could have this match-up again, and I was just so grateful. I never lost that focus.”
Moving the contest from November to March also allowed Lee and her coaches additional time to shore up her game plan and preparation for the showdown with Xiong.
However, she says she was never anything but fully prepared before now, also.
“I was 100 percent ready to face her and defeat her in October before the injury in November,” Lee says.
“Now, we’ve really had time to think about it more and come up with the same game plan, but tighten up all the edges.
“I think it’s going to allow me to go in there that night, really put my best foot forward, and use all my tools.
“I think that’s going to be the main difference now that we’ve had more time to really work more in every single area and get it all really tight. You’re going to see it all come together on the night of the fight.”
Though the undefeated, reigning atomweight queen is confident, she knows the dangers that Xiong brings into this contest.
The Chinese sensation is a powerful striker with knockout potential, the durability to go five hard rounds, and the strength of will to push through dangerous situations.
Lee respects the skill set that Xiong possesses, but she believes she can use the weapons in her own arsenal to dismantle the strawweight champion.
“She’s an aggressive, forward-pressure, volume striker,” Lee says.
“I think she’s been able to get the better of a lot of the opponents she’s faced in the past and dictate where the fight goes with her pressure.
“With me, she’s not going to be able to do that. I’m not just going to put my back to the cage, and I’m not going to let her dictate where the fight goes.”
As ferocious as Xiong has been since first arriving in ONE Championship, Lee promises to challenge her in ways she has never been tested previously.
Whether that is by taking “The Panda” on at her own game and trading punches, or by using her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts skills – the likes of which the Bali MMA representative has not faced in the ring before – to tie her in knots.
“I’m not going to be scared to stand in the pocket with her or take the fight wherever it goes,” Lee says.
“I think that’s the main difference. I’m going to take this fight wherever it needs to go so I can finish her.
“I’m just going to make her quit. I’m going to do whatever it takes. I’m going to put the pressure on her, and I’m going to take her places she has never been.”
As much as her focus remains on the task at hand, Lee would be remiss if she ignored the magnitude of potential achievement that stands before her.
The prospect of winning a second World Title at such a momentous live event brings a lot of pressure, but it has only made the “Unstoppable” 22-year-old’s focus more intense, and her will to win even stronger.
“I know this is a huge, once in a lifetime opportunity that not many people get,” Lee says.
“To already be the World Champion in my division and step up to possibly become a two-division World Champion, that would be a huge goal of mine.
“This is going to be the fight of my life, and I’m going to put on my best performance.”