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ONE atomweight champ Angela Lee still eyes strawweight belt – but title defense comes first

ONE Championship atomweight champ Angela Lee still has her sights set on becoming a double titleholder.

Lee (10-2), who’s expecting her first child soon with husband Bruno Pucci, is currently taking some time off from competition. The 24-year-old notched three successful title defenses before attempting to move up a weight class and challenge for the strawweight title.

But Lee endured her first career loss when she was stopped in the fifth round by champion Xiong Jing Nan in March 2019. She stuck to strawweight in her next fight, but failed to win at her new weight class when she was defeated by Michelle Nicolini.

The back-to-back losses prompted Lee to return to her original division, where she put her title on the line against the woman who bounced her out of the ranks of the unbeaten. Lee was able to exact her revenge, submitting Nan in the fifth round in October 2019. But despite her continued success at atomweight, Lee hasn’t given up on her strawweight title pursuit.

“Definitely my first fight back is gonna be a title defense and then I still do plan on going to the strawweight division and eventually trying to claim that title, so we’ll see,” Lee told MMA Junkie Radio. “Big goals ahead, one step at a time, gotta get this baby out first.”

Earlier this week, ONE announced an atomweight grand prix will take place on May 28, where the winner is expected to fight Lee in November. The lineup includes the likes of Stamp Fairtex, Itsuki Hirata and UFC veteran Seo Hee Ham.

In the meantime, Lee will be cheering on her siblings who are prepping for their upcoming respective bouts. 16-year-old Victoria Lee makes her professional debut Friday, and Christian Lee takes on Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE on TNT 2 in April.

As she gears up for giving birth, Angela can’t wait to get back on the mats and continue her promising MMA career.

“For me, I’m just never satisfied with where I’m at,” Lee said. “I think I’ve been like that since I was a kid. I’m always striving to do better, to do more, push myself more, and yeah, I’ve had a great career with ONE Championship so far. It’s really taken off, but right now with the whole world kinda being on a standstill with COVID and with me being pregnant, it kind of seems like I’m waiting for the comeback, and that’s what I’m excited for.

“I think when I come back to fighting, I’m gonna have this whole renewed motivation to fight and a new reason to fight. I’m just so excited for that. Also, I think it’s gonna be great, because Victoria is gonna probably have a few fights under her record at that time, and we’re gonna be ideal training partners for one another, so I’m really looking forward to training with my sister, training with my brother and just showing the world what the Lee’s can do.”

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