ONE Championship’s blockbuster Singapore event in mid-May just got a even more epic, as another world title bout has been added to the star-studded card.
In the co-main event of ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS on Friday, 18 March, ONE Featherweight & Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen will defend his coveted featherweight belt against top contender Christian “The Warrior” Lee.
It will be the first time in history a sibling pair will both be in world title bouts at the same event.
The bout serves as a rematch from Nguyen and Lee’s initial encounter nearly a year and a half ago. In August 2016, Nguyen stopped Lee’s meteoric rise up the featherweight ranks, and handed him his first professional blemish via guillotine choke.
Since then, both athletes have experienced similar career trajectories, with very different results.
Nguyen knocked out two-division DEEP Champion Kazunori Yokota in January 2017 to earn a rematch against Dagestan’s Marat “Cobra” Gafurov, the only man to have defeated him. He would exact his revenge on the Dagestani later that August, knocking “Cobra” out with his signature overhand right to claim the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
The 29-year-old Vietnamese-Australian then made history three months later by moving up a division, and repeating the feat against ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang. He used the same punch to knock out the Filipino hero, and captured the belt to become the first-ever two-division ONE World Champion.
In March, Nguyen attempted to become the first three-division world champion, but came up just short in his quest. He lost a razor-thin split decision to ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
Now, Nguyen is ready to finally defend his featherweight crown against the teenage sensation, who has improved vastly since their last encounter, and who recently made some history of his own.
Following the Nguyen loss, Lee took an eight-month break from competition to recharge his batteries, enjoy life, and improve his skills at both United MMA and Evolve MMA, and came back better than ever.
Lee returned in April 2017, and brought a newfound patience to his martial arts approach. It led him to a thrilling knockout win over “The Werewolf” Wan Jian Ping. He followed that up with a show-stealing performance against Malaysian star Keanu Subba, whom he submitted via armbar in a three-round thriller.
The 19-year-old then Singapore representative capped off the year with a first-round KO of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu Boku in December. From there, “The Warrior” faced a common opponent in Yokota in March 2018, and tapped the veteran Japanese champion out in the second round via his very own “Terminator Guillotine.”
Not only did that victory over catapult the teen to number one contender status, but it gave him the record for most finishes in ONE Championship history at nine.
Almost two years removed from their first match, Nguyen and Lee’s paths cross once again. And this time, a world title will be on the line.