MMA: One Championship chairman Chatri open to Angela Lee fighting in cross-promotional event with UFC

Angela Lee, who retained her One Championship atomweight title against Istela Nunes last Friday, is expected to fight again this year.
Angela Lee, who retained her One Championship atomweight title against Istela Nunes last Friday, is expected to fight again this year.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

One Championship's Chatri says he would welcome the chance of cross-promoter event

Retaining her title has put fresh focus on the bull's eye on Angela Lee's back as the mixed martial arts star looks set for her third title challenge in six months.

The 20-year-old One Championship atomweight world champion defeated Brazil's Istela Nunes via a second-round submission last Friday and is expected to return to the cage later this year.

One Championship chairman and chief executive Chatri Sityodtong told The Straits Times yesterday that he expects Lee's next fight to take place in August or September.

One Championship will hold live events in Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta during that period.

While the challenger's identity remains unknown, Chatri raised the prospect of a blockbuster cross-promoter showdown between Lee and a fighter from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

He said: "If UFC would accept, I would love to have Angela compete against a UFC world champion.

"It would draw global attention."

READY FOR ANYTHING

This is just the first step to a very long reign as champion. I know there are many girls around the world who are going to be training hard (to face) me but I'm prepared.''

ANGELA LEE, on the prospective challengers who will be aiming to replace her as champion.

Lee competes in the atomweight division, where the weight limit is 52.5kg. The United States-based UFC's lightest women's division is the 115lbs (51.2kg) strawweight where Poland's Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the reigning world champion.

Having preserved her unbeaten record, which has now stretched to eight bouts, Lee, who is of Singaporean and Korean descent, told ST: "This is just the beginning and that's the exciting part. This is just the first step to a very long reign as champion.

"I know there are many girls around the world who are going to be training hard (to face) me but I'm prepared.

"I'm going to keep growing and learning as a martial arts exponent, so let them come - I'll be waiting for my next opponent."

UFC will also hold a live event on June 17 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the organisation's first at the venue since 2014. Its counterpart, One Championship, expects to hold a minimum of 18 events across Asia this year, its largest schedule since the Singapore-based company was formed in 2011.

A second event in the Republic has been pencilled in for Nov 24 and Chatri promised it would be "bigger, better and more exciting" than last week's sold-out show that drew more than 12,000 fans.

He said an announcement regarding a live music performance during the next Singapore leg would be made in the next fortnight.

One Championship's event in Bangkok in March featured popular Thai bands Slot Machine and Thaitanium and Chatri said: "That's a clue as to what's going to be coming in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2017, with the headline 'One boss hints at UFC fight for Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe