South Korea’s Sung Jong Lee is taking on a grappling great at ONE: HEART OF THE LION on 9 November, and he believes he can send shockwaves through the martial arts world with a submission win.
Lee will take on five-time EBI Grappling Champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon in Singapore under mixed martial arts rules, and the 33-year-old cannot wait to jump into the cage and test his skills against the American.
“When I first heard his name, I couldn’t believe it,” Lee says.
“I was surprised and thrilled all at the same time.”
Lee is a grappling connoisseur himself and has studied Tonon’s game closely in the lead-up to their contest.
He acknowledges the American’s greatness on the mats, but says his own all-around mixed martial arts skills will be decisive when they meet in the cage.
“I am a mixed martial artist with jiu-jitsu as one of my strengths,” he explains.
“I cannot ignore his power and experience, but I am a better all-around martial artist.”
Lee is a bonafide finisher. He has a perfect 100 percent finishing rate from his victories, with three heel-hook submissions and a TKO stoppage to his name.
Against top lightweight contender Amir Khan in May, Lee proved that he has the skills to trouble elite-level opposition.
The result ultimately did not go Lee’s way, but he showed enough to suggest he could become a contender in the months and years to come.
“I was confident going in, but I let the big stage affect me, and physically, I was not able to adjust,” he admits.
After that defeat, Lee reassessed his choice of weight class and made the decision to drop from lightweight to featherweight, where he believes he will be a stronger contender.
“I walk around at 73 kilograms,” he says.
“The featherweight limit is 70 kilograms, so without any dieting, I can make the weight, no problem.”
Now Lee is ready to embark on a fresh chapter of his career in a new weight class, and the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Korea product hopes to score a major scalp by defeating Tonon.
He even hinted that he might fancy his chances of submitting “The Lion Killer” and springing the ultimate shock result.
“Many people will tell you that it will be impossible to submit Garry Tonon, but I will try my best to display my jiu-jitsu on the night.”