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Christian Lee Reflects On Incredible Year, Potential 2023 Fights

LockerRoom Team
19 December 2022

If anyone has had a storied year in mixed martial arts, it’s Christian “The Warrior” Lee.

From regaining a ONE World Title to surging back from the brink of defeat, the ONE Lightweight and Welterweight World Champion looks back on a pivotal year in his MMA career.

After losing his ONE Lightweight World Championship to Ok Rae Yoon in late 2021, Lee reclaimed his divisional gold in August at ONE 160 with a second-round knockout of Ok in a performance that resolidified his status in the promotion and proved to be the catalyst for greater things to come.

ALSO READ | 3 ONE Championship Fights We Want To See In 2023

The Evolve MMA representative was looking to unwind after an intense campaign to reclaim his belt, but an offer to double his gold against Kiamrian Abbasov was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

“I think me and Abbasov were both hurting after that fight was done,” Lee said. “But it was a great night. I’m grateful that I was able to get my hand raised.

“Looking back, I still feel like I could’ve done much better in that fight. I feel like if I was fighting at my full potential that night, I could’ve finished him in the first round, but I had that early knockdown by Abbasov that set me back a little bit. It turned the fight into a war, which I was prepared for anyway.”  

The war came about when the Russian dropped Lee early in the first round and continued to pour on the pressure. Abbasov’s powerful striking put the lightweight standout in danger, a moment that proved to be a true test of Lee’s mettle.

After weathering Abbasov’s storm, “The Warrior” took his time to lick his wounds before rallying back in the fourth frame to ultimately stop his welterweight foe and make history as a two-division champion.

“When it came down to those championship rounds, it was everything that I’ve done in the training room just kicking in and taking over. Because when you’re that exhausted and, in my case, having gotten knocked down in the first round, there’s not so much thinking going on,” he said.  

As a monumental 2022 comes to a close, the 24-year-old is aware of the stern challenges awaiting him in the new year. With names like Saygid Izagakhmaev, Murad Ramazanov, and Roberto Soldic all watching from the wings, “The Warrior” says he will be ready. 

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“Right now, I think those are the three top guys within the two divisions,” the 17-4 battler said. “I’m looking forward to facing one of them. It doesn’t matter who first. 

“For me, I try not to play matchmaker too much. I just go in there and do my job. So whoever they throw at me, I’m ready.”

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