Christian Lee wants to bring back lightweight Grand Prix after beating Ok Rae Yoon

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KEY POINTS

  • Christian Lee wants another lightweight World Grand Prix to knock out the best in the division
  • Lee is ready to test Ok Rae Yoon’s courage in ONE: Revolution
  • Lee is convinced he is the best fighter in ONE Championship today

Christian Lee rode through the wringer, taking on ONE Championship’s toughest talents both featherweight and lightweight.

But his toughest fight wasn’t his first world title shot against Martin Nguyen, nor his lightweight title defense against knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin.

Rather, Lee’s toughest test came in the form of a three round short notice against the much esteemed Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in the final round of the 2019 ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.

Lee ended up routing Arslanaliev, winning by dominant unanimous decision over a man many considered the “boogeyman” of the promotion’s lightweight division.

Christian lee Photo: ONE Championship photo release

“I had 10 days to lose 10 pounds and fly to Japan and fight the number one contender in the lightweight division,” said Lee during his first experience in a World Grand Prix.

“I was not currently in a fight camp, I was not currently training and took the fight against [Arslanaliev] who was the # 1 contender, so this fight, even though it was only three rounds, was my toughest fight so far, simply because I had no preparation for this fight. I was not in combat form, I did not have a suitable side and took the fight against a dangerous opponent. It was the hardest fight for me so far.

On Friday, September 24, during the main event of the upcoming ONE: Revolution, Lee will face South Korean Ok Rae Yoon with a chance to completely wipe out the Top 5 in the lightweight division.

Ok is ranked third in the lightweight category and is the only man in the top five that Lee has yet to fight and beat.

Lee explained that if he beat Ok – as many experts expect – all of the best in the division will have fallen to him, with no new contenders in sight.

His analysis, while precise, leaves the division and brass of the ONE Championship between a rock and a hard place. But the champion has a familiar solution.

“I think [another Lightweight World Grand Prix] would be a good idea. It would attract a lot of attention to the lightweight division. After Ok Rae Yoon, there’s no one in contention for the lightweight title, there’s no one to defend my belt against, ”said Lee.

“I think it would be interesting for the division, and it would be a good way to find the real No.1 contender.”

Lee’s great solution not only provides a fan-friendly format for determining who comes next, but it also opens the door for new contenders to enter the mix.

ONE athletes such as former UFC Champion Eddie Alvarez and promotional newcomer Zhang Lipeng as well as veterans like Pieter Buist or Marat Gafurov would see an opportunity to quickly move up the proverbial queue.

Additionally, a weight gain for Martin Nguyen – the man responsible for two of Lee’s three losses as a pro – could potentially be added to the pool.

It doesn’t matter who joins the hypothetical tournament, it doesn’t matter to the 23-year-old world champion.

Lee’s take on the division and the organization as a whole, as well as his desire to return to the Grand Prix format, has been succinctly summed up.

“There are a lot of good fighters fighting right now… But right now I feel like I’m the best fighter in the world. So there is no one I want to fight against. It’s more, the one they say is the best, it’s who I want, ”Lee said.

Christian lee Christian lee Photo: ONE Championship photo release


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