Angela Lee Opens Up On Her Comeback, ONE Atomweight GP & Her Siblings
Almost two months after giving birth to her daughter Ava Marie, ONE atomweight champion Angela Lee is back in training and planing to be in fight shape by the end of the year.
Lee last fought at ONE: Century in 2019, when she defended her atomweight title against ONE strawweight champion Xiong Jingnan in their rematch. ‘Unstoppable’ announced her pregnancy with her husband, ONE featherweight contender Bruno Pucci, last September.
As a result, ONE Championship announced an eight-woman Atomweight World Grand Prix last October to determine her next challenger. After initial delays, the first round of the tournament was set to take place at ONE: Empower on May 28th, but the event was postponed due to COVID restrictions in Singapore.
Getting Back In Shape
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Lee said that she has resumed training to get back in fighting shape, as she’s aware that the Grand Prix participants are all gunning for her.
“The atomweight division has the most women for the organisation,” Lee said. “It’s the busiest [and] there’s some really good contenders that they’ve brought into the Atomweight Grand Prix. I mean the Grand Prix is super exciting in itself, just because it’s the first all-female tournament that ONE’s gonna put on, and I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s gonna be super fun to see how it goes down and I’ll be tuning in for sure.
“Meanwhile for me, it just gives me so much added motivation to get back to training and get back to fight shape as soon as possible. Just because i know that these girls are gunning for me so I gotta be ready.”
The eight women competing in the tournament are Itsuki Hirata, Alyse Anderson, Meng Bo, Julie Mezabarba, Denice Zamboanga, Ham Seo Hee, Alyona Rassohyna, and Stamp Fairtex.
When asked who she thinks will win the tournament, Lee refused to pick a favourite, saying that all eight women involved in the Grand Prix are very skilled, and she expects some exciting action.
“I think that everyone who has a spot in this Grand Prix is not to be taken lightly. The matchups are interesting, so I’m really excited to see how that plays out,” Lee said. “I mean it’s a fight, anything can happen and also even more so in a tournament setting like this. I don’t wanna call out who I think is gonna win the tournament. I’m just excited that I get to see these girls face off against each other and it’s going to be one hell of a tournament.”
Return To ONE Circle
While she’s excited to see how the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix unfolds, Lee is focusing on herself, as she aims to be back in full fight shape by the end of the year.
“I’m getting back and ideally I would like to have myself in fight shape by the end of the year,” Lee said. “That being said, I’m not sure how things play out, the world is still kind of not back to normal with COVID and things like that, so it makes things a little bit more difficult. I know that [the] Atomweight Grand Prix was supposed to happen earlier, but it got pushed back. We’ll see but all I have to worry about is getting back in shape and my plan is hopefully by the end of the year to be fight ready.”
Christian And Victoria Lee
While Lee has been on the sidelines for almost two years, her brother Christian Lee has defended his ONE lightweight title twice in the last nine months. Most recently, finishing Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round at ONE on TNT 2 in April. Angela praised her younger brother for his dominant performances inside the ONE Circle, and warned his counterparts that he’s only getting better.
“Christian is just getting better and better and the scary thing for everyone in his division is that he’s just getting started,” Lee said. “I mean he just celebrated his 23rd birthday recently. He literally has so much more to go and the way he trains in the gym every single day is just so motivating and inspiring for me.”
Angela’s younger sister, 16 year old Victoria Lee, also made her ONE Championship debut earlier this year, submitting Sunita Srisen in the second round at ONE: Fists of Fury in February. While she was ‘really bummed out’ that she wasn’t able to corner her sister, the 24 year old is still very proud of her.
“It was just so surreal. I was really bummed out that I couldn’t be there for her debut,” Lee said. “I was just up and screaming at my phone and supporting her from here in Hawaii. I am so proud of her. To think that she put on a performance like that at just 16 years old, there’s so many more things to think about. Not only do you have to be prepared to face another professional MMA fighter, but all the nerves that she had to deal with and she overcame, so very proud of her.”
Who do you think among the eight ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix contestants is the toughest matchup for Angela Lee?