Lee gained valuable insight about herself as both a fighter
and a person in her two more recent bouts.
After winning her first nine bouts, including three title defenses, Lee moved up to strawweight to challenge Xiong in hopes of becoming the first-ever female two-division world champion in ONE. Instead, she was toppled in the fifth round, and a decision defeat to Michelle Nicolini followed a few months later.
“I’ve had time to reflect on my past two fights, and I don’t want them to be in vain,” said Lee, a Mililani graduate.
“I feel that I have learned so much since then, and the losses have only motivated me to become a better martial artist.”
Lee’s brother, Christian, is also on the card, as the reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion steps into the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final opposite Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev as a replacement for Eddie Alvarez. The two help run the Lee family gym in Hawaii and train at United MMA.
Both of Lee’s defeats came in a different weight class, as she is unbeaten still at atomweight.
“I do feel that fighting at atomweight will be in my favor,” Lee said.
“I’ve been here many times before. This is where I am the champion and where I am undefeated. Xiong has never been down to atomweight, and I know, if it’s difficult for me, it will be difficult for her. I am ready. My advantages are that in our previous fight, I was winning every round up until the fifth.
“I know where I need to take this fight to win it. I’ve fixed my mistakes, and I know I have what it takes to defend my title.”
She also made sure to plan extra study sessions with her coaches and teammates to look over the mistakes made against Xiong and Nicolini, adding “I learned a lot. I’ve studied what went wrong in that fight and what went right. I know my training and my preparation will be my key to success in this rematch.”
Of her nine career wins, seven have been via submission for Lee, including her first five bouts with ONE Championship. Despite her string of success on the ground, the 23-year-old isn’t making any fight predictions for herself.
“I am ready for any and every scenario,” Lee concluded. “I don’t want to call how this fight will go. I don’t want to say what I will or will not do. I will adapt no matter the situation and will find a way to win.”
ONE: CENTURY will air live on TNT at 11 p.m. EST/5 p.m. HST. Lee and Xiong headline that portion of the doubleheader card.