Christian Lee has a tall order ahead of him at ONE on TNT 2. But he’s as confident as ever as he looks to defend his title for a second time.
Just 22-years old, Lee (14-3) captured the ONE Championship 170-pound crown in May 2019 against the legendary Shinya Aoki and has performed brilliantly since.
“I don’t want to come off as cocky, but I do feel that I’m the best lightweight fighter in the entire world,” Lee told Asian MMA. “And that doesn’t mean just ONE Championship, that means every organization.”
As specified, lightweight in ONE is what is traditionally known as welterweight in the rest of the world. Though that surely doesn’t mean that Christian Lee wouldn’t like his chances against MMA’s best 155-pounders as well.
Riding a five-fight winning streak consisting of four TKOs all via punches, the younger brother of fellow champion Angela Lee has his next date set for April 14. Standing in his way will be the heavy-handed Russian, Timofey Nastyukhin (14-4).
“The thing about this fight that’s exciting for me is that Timofey is, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous athletes in the lightweight division and he’s taken out some of the best names in ONE so far,” Lee said. “He’s definitely deserving of this title shot.
“Just the way our styles line up, he’s a finisher, I’m a finisher, and it’s going to make for a great, exciting fight for the fans.”
On a solid but short two-fight winning streak of his own, Nastyukhin put himself firmly on the map after welcoming former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez to the ONE cage. In the clash, Nastyukhin only needed four minutes to put away the 155-pound legend with strikes.
Most recently, Nastyukhin earned a unanimous decision in November against Pieter Buist. In that same month, Lee made a successful first title defense by finishing Iuri Lapicus with heavy ground and pound blows in round one.