“Nobody works better under pressure. They just work faster.”
The greatest of pressure can make or break a career, especially at a very young age. For 19-year-old strawweight Angela Lee and her brother, 17 year old Christian, they have had to mature faster than most mixed martial artists as they find themselves at the forefront of the next wave of Asian Mixed Martial Artists.
Angela Lee went on a rampage to close out the 2015 calendar year. Living up to her moniker, “The Unstoppable” demolished every challenge in front of her, finishing all four of her fights, including the toughest match in her young career against Polish fighter Lena Tkhorevska in ONE Spirit of Champions.
However, for the young Canadian-Singaporean, besides her fight, she also had to look out for her younger brother Christian, who was making his pro MMA debut in a match against David Meak. “I’m more nervous for him than for my fight. To see my little brother go out there is just a dream come true for us,” Angela disclosed during the weigh-ins.
Even if she had a match later on, Angela was part of the entourage that walked Christian to the cage. It’s those little things that have bonded the siblings. “It’s amazing. It’s a dream come true for us. Me and my sister, we do everything together. We train together,” Christian shared. “We always talked about getting on the big stage and there’s no greater opportunity than to be with ONE Championship.”
Not yet even legally of age to step into a bar, Christian was impressive in his debut, scorching his Australian opponent in just 29 seconds of cage time to the awe of the Manila crowd. Their father, who is a decorated martial artist, reminded his son prior to the fight that, “It was everything. My dad always said, ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression.’” the 17 year old featherweight disclosed. “My sister did that in her pro debut and I was fortunate to do so too.”
“I worked so hard for this moment and nothing was going to stop me.”
Angela was so proud of her brother after his debut, saying, “it’s the best feeling in the world. He deserves it. He has worked so hard for this since we were kids,” she said to Tiebreaker Times. “To fight professionally at the biggest stage, it’s just his dream to become a world champion someday.”
Later in the evening, it was Angela’s turn to step into the cage. Despite fighting her fourth match in seven months, signs of fatigue were not visible in the Singaporean’s movements. Moreover, she displayed great calm and maturity in her strawweight bout against Tkhorevska compared to her first three fights. In the end, Lee was able to best her Polish opponent, sinking a tight rear naked choke in the second round to cap her impressive year. The Filipinos finally had a chance to witness the hype of the “Unstoppable” one.
After the fight, she admitted that she needs to take a short breather from active competition in order to stay fresh for 2016. “Well, I’m going back home and get some rest. I’ll still continue to train hard and I don’t know, who knows, what’s in store for next year,” she disclosed.
Angela, nonetheless, is excited for the opportunity that ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui is planning for the women’s division. According to Cui, the women’s strawweight division will have a world champion come next year. This opportunity is what the 19-year-old Evolve MMA fighter looks forward to in the new year. “I’m excited. There’s some talk of me to fight for the world title. I mean, the strawweight division for ONE is definitely growing.”
Beyond the competition, Angela Lee has made the media rounds all year long, which had turned her into one of the brightest stars under the ONE banner.
With a lot of fans, including her younger brother Christian, looking up to her, Angela admitted that she takes it as her responsibility to be an exemplary model, not just to her siblings, but to young aspiring fighters as well. “I try to be the best person and to be someone that my siblings will look up to. I definitely feel responsible to have some character,” she said. “I just hope to be a role model for little girls out there,” the darling of women’s MMA closed.
Both Christian and Angela Lee acknowledged that it was their father’s discipline that have helped cultivate them into what they are today. If they continue to push through in this rightful path, the future looks bright, not only for the two, but for Asian MMA as well.