Angela Lee is the only fighter to ever hold the ONE Championship atomweight title while her upcoming opponent, Xiong Jing Nan, has also held the strawweight strap since it’s inception. Having shared the cage for nearly ten rounds the two fighters are already familiar to each other.

But having watched Xiong Jing Nan labour through some underwhelming decision wins since their last fight Lee thinks the strawweight champion has stagnated.

“I feel like when I watched Xiong she was not fighting to win, she was fighting not to lose. Sometimes when you’re champion for a while, you become stagnant and you’re just fighting to keep your belt, not fighting to win and destroy every person that’s in front of you.”


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More improvements

The two champions face off at ONE on Prime Video 2 this month. Xiong’s strawweight strap will be on the line and Lee will be hoping to fare better than she did the last time she challenged for this belt.

Lee is coming off a second round submission win over Stamp Fairtex and feels she has made more improvements than her Chinese opponent,

“Me and Xiong Jing Nan, we’ve had ten rounds, and we are pretty familiar with each other styles. But the one thing I can say is that I definitely feel like I’ve evolved much more as a fighter, as a mixed martial artist, and as a champion.”

While evolving Lee has also found time to have a child which is why she has only fought once since the 2019 win over Xiong. The first fight finished with a late stoppage for the Chinese fighter but the Hawaiian scored a fifth round submission in the rematch.

But having finished her last fight early Lee is very confident she will be the one applying the pressure in the opening rounds,

“I’ll be looking to take her out in the early rounds, and I feel like her game plan is to take me out in later rounds. We’ll see who gets what they want.”


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More experience

Despite having only fought once in the last three years Lee feels she has made some big improvements. It is Xiong who has fought for 15 rounds but the Hawaiian feels she is the one who has gained the most experience,

“I have gained a lot more experience since our first two encounters. So this is round 11. I know she’s a tough fighter, but I’m excited for what I’m going to be bringing to the table.”

There were a lot of questions surrounding Lee before her title fight with Stamp Fairtex. Fans were wondering whether she could recapture the form she showed before the birth of her first child.

Lee answered them emphatically and showed her submission game is as sharp as ever. Xiong will be looking to drag her into deep water and find out whether the challenger still has the stamina to go the full five rounds.