Reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee has accomplished much in her mixed martial arts career despite being so young.
Lee captured the title in March of 2017 and has kept her professional record unblemished since her debut. Many would attribute her immense success to her strength and skull. But taking a closer look, Lee says it was the value of patience that led to what she has achieved so far.
“It’s a process, and I’m still learning,” Lee said.
“I’m still growing through this process. One thing that has really helped me is that I have such great mentors around me. My parents have been such a huge part of this journey and [it is important] having them speak into my life because, at the end of the day, I know they only want the best for me. We have that special bond, and that’s really helped me. Also, I just love what I do. I love that I’m able to talk to people, do what I love, and share that with people. Honestly, I’m so grateful.”
Lee’s patience was most recently tested when she was forced to withdraw from her bout with reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan, which was originally scheduled for last November. The 22-year-old martial arts superstar suffered a debilitating disk injury just a few weeks before she was to enter the cage, and ONE’s medical team deemed her unfit to compete.
Obviously disappointed with the result, Lee however understood the company’s decision and accept her fate at the time. She understood that the decision was for her own safety and the longevity of her career. Had she fought on injured, who knows what might have happened.
“That part is all about honesty. It’s about being honest with yourself, and that’s a huge part of martial arts. That’s something I had to learn growing up,” Lee said.
“At the end of the day, you can fake it to everyone and say, ‘Oh, I’m fine.’ But you can’t fake it to yourself. Is it doing something good or is it doing something bad? Of course, as a fighter, we try to have that tough mindset of pushing through. But there comes a point where you’ve just got to take a step back, be honest with yourself, and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t the time for me to do this right now. I need to take a break and do the smart thing for my body so I can have a long career.’ Or else, you could end up making it worse.”
Lee’s patience was rewarded, and the bout with Xiong was rescheduled. Now the two are set to face each other at ONE: A NEW ERA, set for the iconic Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
A lot is at stake in this matchup, and “Unstoppable” is hard at work.
Right now, Lee is deep in training camp and is currently winding things down as she and her team head for the Land of the Rising Sun in the coming week. She continues to stress the importance of having the right people around her, which is one of the ingredients to her success.
If she is able to defeat Xiong, Lee will become the first woman in history to hold two World Titles in different weight divisions concurrently.
“You need a team around you because everyone is going to have a different point of view,” Lee concluded.
“Everyone is going to have a different opinion and when we make decisions — whether it’s my fight camp, Christian’s, or Bruno’s — we always make them as a family. Christian can speak into my life, and so can my mom, my dad, and Bruno. That’s usually how we make our decisions. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s important to let people have their opinion and talk to you about it. Those are the people who care about you, and those are the people who know you the best. It’s important you give them a voice.”