The Andrews Report: ONE Championship atomweight champion Angela Lee
ONE Championship’s Warrior Kingdom card takes place this Saturday Mar. 11 in Bangkok, Thailand. This week, I bring you the edited contents of a conversation I had with atomweight champion Angela Lee (6-0-0). Crossfire readers keeping score will remember that Lee visited our Supermodel Sonya’s Hair Salon last month.
“Unstoppable” defends her belt this Saturday against No. 1 contender Jenny Huang (5-0-0).
“Unstoppable” Angela Lee
Kenai Andrews: You are coming into this fight as the champion. Do you feel like you have the experience to deal more effectively with defending the belt based in part gaining the experience to win it?
Angela Lee: Definitely. I’m very confident and excited for my first title defence. There was a lot I went through on the night that I fought for the title. Being able to overcome everything, all of the circumstances, all of the pressure, I think I’m going to deal with it a lot better come the night of the fight.
Kenai Andrews: What else did you learn about yourself from the fight with Mei?
Angela Lee: It really tested and pushed me to see how much I wanted it. Obviously, going into every fight my mentality is to finish the person in front of me. That’s what I tried to do with my opponent, but she was so resilient, such a warrior. The back-and-forth round that we had, going the distance in the championship rounds, showed me that even to the very last seconds of the final bell… I guess coming out of that victorious, it really gave me a big confidence booster, that even though I’m young and there is so much expectations, that I can deliver and come out victorious.
Kenai Andrews: Did anything in your life change after winning the belt last May as opposed to before?
Angela Lee: You know, after winning the belt, I was able to send a lot of quality time with my family, my teammates, my coaches, and everyone who helped me get to where I’m at. It was awesome to unwind for a bit, as it was a crazy year. Back-to-back fights, in and out of fight camp, so that off time really helped me to unwind. Also, being able to travel to these amazing places, speaking at these engagements, meeting new people. It’s been a really fun ride so far, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting in the cage because that’s the best part of this job.
Kenai Andrews: Talk about Jenny Huang as a competitor and why she is a threat to your belt.
Angela Lee: Jenny has had five fights, she’s undefeated so far. I think that looking at her, she’s a pretty well-rounded fighter. Pretty skilled on the ground as well, finished with a rare Gogoplata (submission) in her last fight.I think that anyone who gets a title shot is a threat to me, obviously.
Angela Lee: Their goal is to take the belt from me and I’m taking her extremely seriously. Because the first title defence for any champion is crucial. I’m looking to make a statement with this fight and show the world who I am as a champion.
Kenai Andrews: What did you think of her last fight with April Osenio specifically, her grappling, and her ability to finish the fight on the ground?
Angela Lee: I think that with the fight with April, both girls are very tough. Jenny was able to get it to the ground and slap on the submission. It was a good submission, a good fight. I think her ground game is good. I mean she focuses a lot on Jiu-Jitsu, but it’s extremely different from my ground game. I think that’s something the fans will excited to see how we match up on the ground, when it gets there (Laughs).
Kenai Andrews: Do you like to watch a lot of video on your opponent or do you focus more on what you’d like to do and leave that more to your team?
Angela Lee: No, I do like to watch video and see who they are as a person, as a martial artist and their style. I don’t focus too much about it where I try to obsess about everything that they’re doing, but I do like to get a good feel of who I’m dealing with and what they bring to the table. I think Jenny is really focused. This is her one shot she’s going to get at the championship. I’m preparing for every possible scenario and I know Im going to be more than 100 percent ready for the fight.
Kenai Andrews: Your brother Christian (5-1-0) lost his first fight last summer at ONE 45. Can you share how he handled it and what if anything you may have tried to learn from it?
Angela Lee: Yeah, that fight was definitely … he took it pretty hard and so did I and my Dad, because we’re so tight as a family. I think that Christian has learned so much from that fight. It’s really helped him to grow as a martial artist and a person.
He’s so young and to have so many experiences and go through so much as a 17 year old (now 18), I think that every experience, everything that happens has a purpose and it’s going to shape him into an even better fighter. I can’t wait for his comeback, he’s been training hard 24-7, and this year is going to be good for us.
Kenai Andrews: Any word of of his next opponent?
Angela Lee: No, there is no word, but staying hungry, training hard. He can’t wait, he wants to get back in there just as much as everyone wants to see him back in there.
Kenai Andrews: You train with Evolve Fight Team. For you, what is Evolve’s biggest asset that has helped your development?
Angela Lee: It’s definitely been all of the teammates and coaching. Christian and I are extremely grateful to be involved with Evolve Fight Team as well as United MMA. They have so many different resources that we are open to. We make the most of everything there. They have so many world champions in numerous martial arts, so being able to have access to all of that, tap into each of their specialities and all of the advice is key and we really appreciate it.
Kenai Andrews: Are you and your brother competitive in video games like Street Fighter, perhaps?
Angela Lee: Yes (Laughs). Growing up, we played a lot of video games. For me, because Christian, he likes playing it and I don’t play as much as him so whenever he beats me it’s like, ‘Aw man,’ it’s so hard because we’re so competitive and get upset. But yeah, we love playing Street Fighter and all those kinds of games – although we don’t have too much time to play – but it is always nice once in awhile.
Kenai Andrews: Talk about Bangkok.
Angela Lee: I love this place. The city, the country, the people … I am so excited and happy that I get to defend my title here. Over the past two years, being at Evolve, there’s so many Thai coaches there that are also world champions. I’ve gotten pretty close with them, so having their support, and for me, fighting in Thailand – their home country – it means a lot to them and I can’t wait to make everyone proud and celebrate with everyone after the fight.
Kenai Andrews: Thank you for talking to us Angela. All the best this Saturday.
Andrea Lee: Thank you Kenai!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned for our conversation with challenger Jenny Huang during Warrior Kingdom Fight Week.