‘She brings a whole new meaning to what I do’; First time mother & MMA champion, Hawaii’s Angela Lee returns to training with a new motivation


Angela Lee with daughter Ava Marie

Less than three months after giving birth to her first child, ONE Championship MMA queen, Hawaii’s Angela Lee has taken her first steps towards a return to defending the throne.

On April 16, the 24 year old welcomed daughter Ava Marie into the world, which incredibly came just 15 days ahead of brother Christian’s daughter Alia Mae as the already family based United MMA Gym in Waipio added two more members to the team.

“It’s so special. We are so blessed to be able to as a family enjoy this time together. It’s great having my brother and his family and my parents and siblings all together. I was just telling my husband Bruno last week that it’s hard to remember what life was like before this,” Lee told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello. “Being a mom is honestly the best thing in the world. I wanted to be a mom even before I wanted to be a world champion. For me to be able to have my daughter with me now is such a blessing and everyday is awesome because of her.”

Christian Lee and Angela Lee’s daughters at the United MMA Gym in Waipio

Since becoming a mother, Angela has shared many of her experiences of being a first time mom via social media and that includes getting back to work. The reigning atomweight champion who last defended her title in October of 2019 returned to the mats for the first time last week, where the global superstar has combined her passion for her profession with her love for being a first time mom, and despite the many smiles during her training sessions Lee says it has not been easy with the toughest hill to climb being more physical than mental.

“Getting back into things, my mind remembers how to do it but my body is like, ow! this hurts.” Lee said with a laugh. “I was stepping on the mats for the first time last week and I was like, why does the mat feel so hard? Everything hurts. So, it’s just a matter of showing up, being consistent and slowly but surely we’re going to get there,” said Lee.

Lee admits that the she’s surprised that the mental side of training she anticipated to be more difficult but quickly realized that having her daughter both in the gym and in her thoughts has provided a push over the obstacles of overcoming the difficulties.

“I think that now, as I’m transitioning to train again and get back into shape to get ready to fight, she brings a whole new meaning to what I do. When I’m training, when I’m sore, when I’m tired. I just think of the reason behind this is her and she’s my motivation now and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her so it definitely allows me to push that much harder and push that much further.”

According to Lee, the intention is to be back in competition shape by the end of the year with the plan being at defending her title sometime in 2022. For the time being, she’ll continue to push herself while also hoping to provide inspiration to other mothers that share in her experience of returning to work.

“Being a mom is the hardest job in the world and I’m just starting to realize that. I have just so much respect for moms and what they do because now I’m just starting to get a taste of it and the things that they have to juggle and balance and all of the different hats they wear. It’s amazing, so all my respect to moms and sometimes it can get overwhelming but just taking one thing at a time and having a good support system is going to make all the difference.”

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