Angela Lee Breaks Down Top Five Atomweight Contenders
Angela Lee won the ONE atomweight title back in May of 2016 and remains the division’s only ever champion. ‘Unstoppable’ extended her unbeaten record at atomweight by defeating Xiong Jingnan last October at ONE: Century.
With the ONE official rankings recently unveiled, Lee spoke to ONE Championship to discuss the top five contenders in line to challenge her for the title.
At the number one spot is Denice Zamboanga. ‘The Menace Fairtex’ is 7-0 in her MMA career and 2-0 inside the ONE Circle. The 23 year old is coming off a dominant victory over Mei Yamaguchi at ONE: King Of The Jungle, in what was the biggest win of the Filipina’s career to date and gave her a shot at Lee’s title, prior to the coronavirus lockdown.
“She is a really good, all-around fighter. [She is] a really good mixed martial artist. I think she mixes it up in the trenches pretty well, and she can pretty much play anywhere. Judging her last fight with Mei, it was a really smart game plan that her team came up with, and she was able to execute, so I thought that was smart. She looks like a tough girl, and one of those new breed of mixed martial arts fighters where she can mix it up and pretty much feel comfortable in any range.”
Sitting at number two is Meng Bo, who made her ONE debut last November, scoring a dominant TKO over Laura Balin at ONE: Age Of Dragons. The Chinese 24 year old is responsible for the only loss on the UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili’s professional MMA record.
“I only saw one of her fights because she only had one fight in ONE Championship, but it was a nice knockout [against Laura Balin at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS]. I think she did a pull-three, like a pull into a hook. I thought it was impressive.”
In at number three is Lin Heqin. As with Meng, ‘MMA Sister’ only has a single appearance in ONE Championship. She has a 14-2-1 record and in her lone ONE appearance, she stopped Jomarry Torres with a first-round triangle choke at ONE: Reign Of Valor.
“I was actually surprised to hear those two fighters (Meng and Lin) were on the top-five list for atomweight contenders. I just thought a few other fighters should be up there because they have had some more bouts and a longer history in ONE. But yeah, you never know!”
Coming in at number four is Mei Yamaguchi. ‘V.V.’ has challenged ‘Unstoppable’ twice for the atomweight title, coming up just short on both occasions via unanimous decision. Should the Japanese veteran face the Lee for a third time, it would certainly make for an epic trilogy.
“I think, definitely, Mei deserves to be on the top-five list. She is just a veteran of the sport, she has been doing this for a long time, and she has fought for a world title and has stayed extremely relevant. She has had a lot of fights and yeah, I think she is totally well-deserving of being in the top five.”
In the number five spot is Gina Iniong. The Team Lakay representative is 9-4 in mixed martial arts and 5-2 in ONE. She holds victories over Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol and Jihin Radzuan. Most recently, ‘Conviction’ is coming off a unanimous decision win over Asha Roka at ONE: Fire And Fury.
“I also feel like Gina deserves to be in the top five. I think she has had quite a bit of fights in ONE. [She has had] some ups and downs, but she has stayed relevant, and based on who she has fought most recently, I think it definitely qualifies her for being in the top five.”
Which atomweight do you think gives Angela Lee the biggest challenge inside the ONE Circle?