Victoria Lee hoping to emulate her siblings with ONE Championship success
ONE Championship made another high-profile signing last week, locking up the services of 16-year-old prospect Victoria Lee.
While Lee has plenty of meaningful martial arts experience, much of the buzz surrounding her move to ONE stems from her familial ties. She’s the younger sister of two of the promotion’s current champions, lightweight king Christian Lee, and atomweight queen Angela Lee.
The 16-year-old prospect is understandably excited to join her older siblings on the ONE roster,
“I’m super excited,” Lee told Asian MMA from her home in Hawaii.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and I just can’t wait to start my career as a professional athlete in ONE Championship.”
Lee has yet to compete in a professional mixed martial arts bout, but like her siblings, she has grown up surrounded by the martial arts, and has racked up some pretty impressive accomplishments, including a 2019 IMMAF Junior World Championship and a 2020 Hawaii State Wrestling Championship.
Her early success in the martial arts earned her a ringing endorsement from ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who hailed her as ‘the single greatest pound-for-pound female prospect in the world’ shortly after he signed her.
Lee has heard that praise, and is honoured to have received it,
“I appreciate having Mr Chatri’s support so much,” she said.
“His belief in me really motivates me to prove myself.”
While Lee has yet to compete on a stage as big as ONE Championship’s she does have a leg up on other fighters of her experience level, as she’s shadowed her brother and sister during many of their biggest fights. She estimates that she’s attended roughly 20 events with her siblings, and expects that experience will serve her well as her own career gets underway,
“Being able to experience it live, I mean, it’s so much different than just watching it on TV,” she said.
“Seeing the corners, the preparation, and the fight itself… it’s just crazy. I’ve been able to watch and see how they (Angela and Christian) deal with the pressure, control their nerves and are able to execute their game plan.”
However the teenager acknowledges that things might feel very different when the time comes to make her debut,
“I feel like I’ll be a little more familiar with it, but it’s always different, being there watching it and actually doing it.”
In addition to what she’s learned by watching her siblings compete, Lee has also benefited from direct advice from them—particularly about the pressures of life in the public eye.
“They’ve offered me so much in life throughout the years in training and stuff,” she said of her brother and sister. “But as this journey started, they have mentioned to me, regarding all the social media stuff, to just stay focused on training and to block out all that outside noise.”
While Lee has benefitted greatly from having two ONE Championship titleholders in the family, her connection to those two stars also comes with a lot of pressure. She will inevitably be compared to her siblings, and be expected to emulate their massive success in ONE.
Despite her youth, she’s handling that pressure well, and is determined to blaze her own trail in the sport.
“I’m totally ready for it,” she said.
“This has been my dream, to become a professional fighter in ONE Championship. I just can’t wait to get started.”
Angela Lee and Christian Lee have set a high bar for success with their ONE Championship accomplishments. Their younger sister knows it will not be easy for her to match their achievements,
“I’m not trying to compare myself to Angela and Christian,” she added. “I’m just hoping to one day be as good as them.
“I look up to my brother and sister so much, however, I do follow my dad’s advice just to run my own race and not to compare it to them too much.”
Despite her interest in blazing her own trail, Lee would also welcome the opportunity to compete on the same card as her big brother or sister—or both of them—in the future. That being said, she recognizes that arrangement might create some stress for them, and their father, Ken.
“I would love to share a card with either my brother or sister,” she said.
“I think it would be a really fun experience. But on the other hand, I think it would be pretty stressful for either one of them and especially my dad.”
The details of Lee’s ONE Championship debut are still hazy, but she intends to compete in the atomweight division, and would like to fight this year if the current global climate allows.
“I would love to make my debut this year,” she said. “The situation with this virus makes things a little tricky, but I’ll just be training hard and waiting for the call.”
Whenever her pro debut occurs, she’s excited to get her career underway, and begin her march toward her ultimate goal, a ONE Championship title.
“I haven’t even had my debut yet, but as time goes by, one day, I do hope to become a world champion,” she said.
“I feel like that will be the best day of my life. It’ll be the day that my dream comes true.”