ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee enjoyed a successful career in 2019, and now the Singaporean hero is eager to welcome bigger challenges in 2020.
Since he knocked out Japanese grappling legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in May to become the ONE Lightweight World Champion, Lee’s stock has continued to rise.
In October, Lee accepted a short-notice bout against Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev and dominated him in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final to claim the tournament belt.
Encouraged by his extraordinary performances, Lee can hardly satiate his appetite for success. The Singaporean is looking forward to the year ahead, where he can finally unleash his competitive fire and maintain his reign at the top of the lightweight division.
“Many times, people win the belt and become champion, but then they will sit back for a bit. They will stop training, they will stop pushing themselves to their limit, and they will just think that they have done enough,” he said.
“For me, I’m still that same hungry contender I was before I won the belt.”
Holding the belt at the top of a stacked division of premier lightweights, “The Warrior” has kept a watchful eye on potential rivals who are gunning for his World Title.
Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez is one name that comes to mind, and Lee relishes for an opportunity to face the American icon.
Defeating a legend like Alvarez will go a long way toward cementing his status in the sport, and Lee believes it will make for a marquee match-up that will appeal to fans in the United States.
“When Eddie signed to ONE Championship, I was still in the featherweight division. I said I would love for that fight to happen, and I would still love for that fight to happen,” he explained.
“I think it would be a huge draw in the United States. I’m hoping Eddie does well in 2020 and that he is able to work his way up to the top because the lightweight division is so stacked.”
Lee has also kept tabs on Russian powerhouse Timofey Nastyukhin, whose own rise to the top was hampered after an unfortunate injury earlier this year.
“I love his fighting style. I’ve been watching Timofey ever since he started in ONE Championship,” he said.
Nastyukhin most famously stopped Alvarez in the first round during their meeting in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, he was forced to withdraw from the tournament following an injury, depriving fans of what could have been a thrilling showdown with the ONE Lightweight World Champion, Lee.
“I think that would be a very exciting fight for the fans. I feel like he is a guy who gets written off because he has faced so many injuries in his career, but he is definitely a very dangerous opponent,” the Singaporean said.
“I think after a few more fights, we could see him getting a title shot as well.”
Despite all the success he has achieved in 2019, “The Warrior” remains committed to improving himself.
“The way that I made it to the top was by staying humble – both me and my sister, Angela [Lee],” he said.
“We never let fame get to our heads. We get in the gym every single day and we work our butts off. That’s our secret to success, and nothing is going to change in 2020.”
In the meantime, The Home Of Martial Arts returns to action on 10 January for ONE: A NEW TOMORROW at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
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