SINGAPORE - Defeat is always hard to take - let alone the first of your professional career. One Championship's Christian Lee, who tasted the first loss of his six-fight professional career last year, admitted that losing to Martin Nguyen last August was especially hard to take.
But Christian, the younger brother of MMA star Angela Lee, said the loss had served him better than his first five wins. The 18-year-old told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Feb 7): "A loss is never easy, especially when it's your livelihood. But it motivated me to train harder than I ever trained before... to never let that happen again.
"I'm in a much better place than I was before the loss."
Touted as the next big thing in MMA, the American of Singaporean and Korean descent was choked out by Australia's Nguyen in the first round of their clash in Macau. Reflecting on the fight, he said: "I was so anxious to get the knockout blow that I neglected the defence.
"It's something you learn from experience. I must've watched that fight about 50 times already. Every time I watch it it pisses me off but it's something you have to do.
"If we were to fight again I've absolute confidence I'd come out victorious."
He was speaking at Novena Medical Centre, where he and Angela had customised mouth guards fitted with Expat Dental.
The 3D printed custom mouth guards help protect against traumatic head injuries and are thinner than traditional mouthpieces, allowing users to breathe easier through their mouths.
Angela will be using hers at her title bout on March 11, when she will defend her atomweight belt against Jenny Huang in Bangkok's Impact Arena. Her brother's mouth guard will be kept aside - for now. While he has no fights pencilled yet, it is believed Christian could be on the fight card for One Championship's April event in Manila.
He said: "Sometimes when there's no fight it's hard to train but I tell myself I'm not training for a specific opponent. I'm training to be the best fighter in the world.
"Whenever One Championship gives me the call, whoever the set me up against, I'll be ready."