Angela tuning up for title defence

Angela Lee, the One Championship women's atomweight world champion, during a workshop she conducted for Singaporean pop star Nathan Hartono yesterday. The 20-year-old has been training with former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight champion Miesh
Angela Lee, the One Championship women's atomweight world champion, during a workshop she conducted for Singaporean pop star Nathan Hartono yesterday. The 20-year-old has been training with former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

One Championship atomweight titleholder is expanding her repertoire of MMA moves

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Angela Lee has not stepped into the ring since clinching the One Championship atomweight belt in May this year, but the 20-year-old believes she is more than ready to take on any challenger.

With her first title defence set to anchor One Championship's Singapore event next May, Lee, of Singaporean and Korean descent, said her 12-month absence from the ring hardly bothers her.

"It has been a while since my last fight, that's why I'd like to fight before (May), but I don't think I'll have any rust or anything. It's not like I stopped training," she told The Straits Times yesterday.

"I still continued training, it's just the fighting. And fighting's the easiest part."

Lee was speaking at Evolve MMA, where she conducted an MMA workshop for Singapore singer Nathan Hartono.

Well-versed in taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and wrestling, among other martial arts forms, Lee said she has grown as a fighter since her gruelling win over Japan's Mei Yamaguchi for the title.

NO RING RUST

I don't think I'll have any rust or anything. It's not like I stopped training. I still continued training, it's just the fighting. And fighting's the easiest part.

ANGELA LEE , the One Championship atomweight champion, expects to be sharp when she goes into her first title defence next May.

The submissions specialist won by decision after the full five rounds, the first time an opponent had gone the distance with her.

"I've made a lot of improvements, especially (learning from) that title fight. It really helped me grow. I've been training really hard and I can't wait to show everyone (what I've got) next year," she said.

While she is keeping mum about areas she has worked on - "I'm not saying," she quipped - Lee has been training alongside former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.

The 30-year-old American is skilled in wrestling, BJJ, muay thai and boxing, and has been at Evolve MMA since last Saturday.

Lee said: "I really enjoyed her seminar on Saturday, where she shared some of her favourite moves and how she likes to apply them.

"She's a complete MMA fighter and it's been really fun training with her."

Expanding her repertoire aside, Lee said she has also toughened up mentally.

In August, she endured her first defeat since turning pro when she lost to Michelle Nicolini in the One Grappling Challenge.

That same day, she was ringside as brother Christian, 18, suffered his first defeat in the ring.

While her loss in the grappling event is not reflected in her MMA record, she admitted it was a difficult period for the siblings, albeit one that "made me stronger".

"I should've prepared more, so that's one lesson. These bumps on the road, there's a reason that everything happens - there's a bigger lesson in it," she said.

"It's not always going to be easy. August was really tough for both of us, but we've learnt a lot from it and we're both very excited for next year.

"It's going to be big."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'Angela tuning up for title defence'. Print Edition | Subscribe