Christian Lee is feeling confident as he prepares to defend his lightweight title for the second time. The 22 year old is booked to face Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE on TNT 2 on April 14th.

“I don’t want to come off as cocky, but I do feel that I’m the best lightweight fighter in the entire world. And that doesn’t mean just ONE Championship, that means every organization.”

Lee has been slowly but surely building his case over the course of a professional career that began in the featherweight division when he was just 17. The fight will be broadcast on TNT and he is excited about the prospect of showcasing his talents to a mainstream US audience,

“I think it’s great. I’m really excited that ONE has signed a deal with TNT. It’s great to see that ONE is finally breaking its way into the U.S. market, and I can tell my friends and family here in Hawaii to just turn on TNT and watch it in prime time.”

Worthy contender

Nastyukhin earned his title shot with a win over Pieter Buist at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ Part II. For once the Russian didn’t finish an opponent inside the distance but Lee feels that he is facing the most worthy contender,

“The thing about this fight that’s exciting for me is that Timofey is, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous athletes in the lightweight division and he’s taken out some of the best names in ONE so far. He’s definitely deserving of this title shot.”

Both men have lots of stoppages on their respective records and Lee feels that the ingredients are in place for a memorable, action packed encounter,

“Just the way our styles line up, he’s a finisher, I’m a finisher, and it’s going to make for a great, exciting fight for the fans.”

Homecoming fight

His younger sister, Victoria Lee, makes her pro debut at ONE: ‘Fists of Fury’ next week. And he hinted that the promotion was exploring the possibility of putting on an event in the family’s adopted home of Hawaii,

“I’m excited for that and just excited for all the big things coming. I know they’re talking of bringing a show here to the United States and possibly starting with Hawaii. I would be all for that.”

Nastyukhin is the only man alive to have beaten both Eduard Folayang and Eddie Alvarez. He knocked both former champions out inside a round and Lee is well aware of his opponent’s striking prowess,

“I’ve seen him up against good fighters. As I mentioned before, Eduard Folayang and Eddie Alvarez, they’re good strikers themselves. He was able to find holes in their game, take them apart, and eventually get the knockout. So in this matchup, I feel like it’s going to be no different with his game plan.”

New fans

Lee does not feel that Nastyukhin‘s power is his only asset. He believe the Russian has a knack for working out where his opponents weaknesses are and exploiting them,

“Timofey is a dangerous opponent because he’s always looking for the finish. He does have a very good amount of power in his hands. But I feel like what sets him apart is just the fact that he’s able to make adjustments in his game, and he’s always able to find a way to finish.”

The possibility of cracking the lucrative US market is an enticing one for ONE Championship. It is also an exciting prospect for fighters who are based in that territory like Lee.

He thinks that his style is perfect for an American audience and is hoping to win new fans with a big win at ONE on TNT,

“The way that I fight, I like to bring the action from start to finish, and I’m always looking for the finish. I’m very, very grateful that ONE Championship thinks of me as an exciting fighter who can draw fans.”