Still just age 20, ONE’s Angela Lee ready for her follow-up act

One of the best fights of 2016 happened halfway across the world, far from western audiences, at an hour when most of the west coast was still wiping the bleary crust from its eyes.

Over nine months have past since then, when Angela Lee announced her presence on the global stage with a spellbinding win over Mei Yamaguchi, and much has changed. At the young age of 20, ONE Championship’s inaugural — and thus far only — female titleholder has risen to become one of the leading faces of the company, and on March 11, she will finally return to make the first defense of her strap against unbeaten Taiwanese prospect Jenny Huang.

“I feel like I learned more in that fight, that five-round fight with Mei, than I did in all my other fights combined,” Lee told MMA Fighting ahead of ONE: Warrior Kingdom.

“Just because having that much pressure on your shoulders and learning to deal with it, and really work through it and push through — I gained so much knowledge and so much experience from that fight. So I’m really grateful. Although I did try to finish the fight, and even though it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it, just because I think it was an amazing experience that I’m so glad I went through.”

Lee’s clash against Yamaguchi was everything a trial by fire should be for an young prospect: five full rounds of all-out action and adversity, a smorgasbord of wild swings in momentum that culminated with the sort of testing of wills that few athletes ever understand until they experience it. And for Lee, the act was even more impressive given her age. She was just 19 years old when she faced Yamaguchi — a young woman with barely two years of experience trading cannon fire with a battle-hardened 10-year veteran.

Not surprisingly, the standout performance prompted ONE to immediately double down on Lee. Days after the fight, ONE inked Lee to a new contract that a press release claimed made her one of the “top-five highest paid fighters” in the organization. Lee has since received a major marketing push throughout Asia, traveling across the continent to promote the ONE Championship brand, her popularity buoyed by her parents’ dual roots in Singapore and South Korea.

For someone who still isn’t legally old enough to buy a beer in her own home state of Hawaii, it’s all come together quickly for Lee. And although she grew up surrounded since childhood by the martial arts, even she can’t help but be blown away by how her MMA career has played out thus far.

“It’s crazy just to think about all that’s happened in this short amount of time,” Lee said. “Going into becoming a professional fighter and being with ONE Championship, obviously this was my goal, to reach the top and become the champion, however I did not think that it would come this quickly. I’m so grateful for everything.

“It’s a lot, but with the help of my family — I’m very, very close to my family, and to have them around me constantly, one, helps to keep me humbled and keeps me from getting big-headed, but also, two, they’re my support group. My dad is my head coach. They’re what keeps me grounded and they keep it real for me, so I’m really grateful to have them on this journey.”

While it would be easy for Lee to let the success of 2016 go to her head, especially under such unusual circumstances, she generally seems to be the first one to admit how green in the game she truly is. Her potential is evident, but her skills are still in their embryonic stages, and she considers herself a student of the game who studies the mistakes of figures like Ronda Rousey, whose stubbornness towards change ultimately caused her to pay a significant price.

“As brutal as it is, that’s the fight game, and that’s how things go down,” Lee said. “This sport is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. For me, I think that it’s just incredibly important to surround yourself with people who are going to be honest with you. You need to be honest with yourself. I think the most important thing is just to keep learning and keep improving. That’s the whole thing about martial arts, just improving yourself as a person.

“Since the title fight, I’ve just been going nonstop, really training hard, improving my skill set in all areas, from the striking to the takedowns to the grappling and such. I think that, for me, as a champion, it’s really important how I look at things and how — I don’t want to become complacent. I want to stay hungry, continue learning and striving to just improve in martial arts. I can’t wait to get back in the cage, really. It’s been awhile for me, so I’m really excited about this one.”

It’s still far, far too early to call Lee one of the best female fighters in the world. But the path is there for her to one day reach that stage, and in Huang, she faces a worthy next test.

A 26-year-old challenger, Huang holds an undefeated 4-0 record in the ONE cage, with the last three of those victories ending in submissions. Last December, she twisted April Osenio into all sorts of devilish knots en route to winning with the rarely-seen gogoplata finish.

So while Lee’s future in ONE may be bright, she knows that nothing is guaranteed unless she gets by the next foe standing in her way in Bangkok.

“Obviously any champion’s first title defense is crucial,” Lee said. “I’m really looking to make a statement with this fight. Jenny, she’s had really great fights and she’s earned her shot at the title. I’m taking her very seriously, but I think that this is my time to really show the world who I am as a fighter and solidify myself as a champion.

“This time off has really given me time for everything to sink in. I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, meeting a lot of new people. All these new experiences have been just amazing for me, but all the while, still training hard, harder than ever actually, just because I know how important this first title defense is.”

Source: mmafighting

Morning Report: Joe Rogan on Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping: ‘Why have f**king championships at all?’

When the UFC announced last week that Georges St-Pierre would be coming out of retirement to challenge Michael Bisping for his UFC middleweight championship, the response was mixed. While many fans were excited about St-Pierre’s return, and even believed the fight itself was interesting, some did not like the fact that St-Pierre was cutting to the front of the line of a division currently rife with qualified title challengers, specifically, previously presumed title contender Yoel Romero. Well, add Joe Rogan to the list of people less than thrilled about the booking.

Rogan recently went on ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast where he voiced his desire to see Romero get his day in court, and why he thinks Bisping vs. St-Pierre is “not good at all.”

“I really want to see Yoel Romero get a shot at the title. I know he’s waiting, he’s waiting right now for what I think is an interesting fight between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre. I think that’s an interesting fight. I don’t like it in terms of the hierarchy of the division. I think that, as far as the division goes, it’s not good at all. It sort of hijacks the whole situation.”

The decision to have St-Pierre challenge for the title coming off of a three-year layoff, in a weight division he’s never fought in, is the latest in a string of decisions met with skepticism from die-hards in the MMA community. Recent UFC decisions like introducing a plethora of interim titles or creating a women’s featherweight division despite lacking almost any fighters in the weight class, have been viewed by some as sacrificing the “sporting legitimacy” of the UFC in favor of quick monetary gains, causing some fans to worry about the direction the sport is taking. And though Rogan doesn’t harbor those same concerns, he says the purist in him doesn’t like some of the recent choices being made.

“I don’t like it. I’m not concerned because there’s great fighters and you get them together and you make great fights. I’m not concerned at that. But from a purist point of view, and someone who feels like – look, if you’re going to have a champion and you’re gonna have these divisions where one man rules over the division, there should be a very clear hierarchy… If you have a champion and you have all these people waiting in line to get a shot at that champion, the person who is perceived to be the best in that division is the one who should be fighting the champion next. The champion should always be fighting the number one available challenger. Right now, that is Yoel Romero.”

Rogan goes on to explain that he understands the reasons for making the fight and that he understands and appreciates Bisping’s position, that St-Pierre is a big money fight and that Bisping deserves that payday. However, despite his agreement that Bisping deserves the “big money fight,” Rogan says that, promotionally, what is the point of having champions if money fights are going to take precedence?

“As a person who deeply respects the position of champion – if you’re gonna do this whole interim title thing and you’re gonna have guys come back after being out of the sport for three years and get a shot right at the title, why have f**king championships at all?

“Why have a champion at all? Just set up great fights. And if you’re just setting up great fights, well that’s a great fight. Bisping versus GSP is a great fight. If you’re going to have a title, this is the champion of the world, then the champion should be defending his title against the number one challenger and that right now is Yoel Romero.”

The one thing that has made the UFC’s decision to once again forego matching Bisping up against a true contender more palatable for fans bothered by the lack of sporting meritocracy is Bisping’s claim that after he beats St-Pierre, he intends to fight Yoel Romero (or whoever else is the number one contender) on a six- to eight-week turnaround. And while, in a perfect world, that would be optimal, Rogan is skeptical.

“You know, Michael says that he’s going to fight Georges and then six weeks later he said he’ll be ready to fight Yoel Romero right afterwards but I wouldn’t believe that if I was Yoel Romero. When was the last time anybody ever did that? Has anybody ever defended the title against a former world champion and all-time great and then six weeks later defended the title again? I mean, come on, get out of here. That’s not happening.

“I see him drunk, in Vegas, in English flag underwear, having a great time. I think he’s gonna make a giant payday and good for him. I get it.”


MUST-READ STORIES

$$$. Tony Ferguson details not wanting to take a pay cut to fight Michael Johnson.

Real. Megan Anderson considers Cris Cyborg the real UFC women’s featherweight champion.

UFC 210. Daniel Cormier doesn’t like the new UFC 210 poster.

Confidence. Demian Maia is confident he would sell more PPVs than Stephen Thompson.


MEDIA STEW

Rankings report.

Free Legacy fight.

Live Chat.

Tim Means interview.

209 Rewind.


LISTEN UP

Press Row.

Heavy Hands.

Bushido Talk.


TWEETS

DC is upset.

He’s a popular man.

Solidarity.

Never ceases to amaze me that dudes who fight alongside and train with women, continue to say ish like this.

Rousey.

#DayWithoutaWoman #resist

A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on Mar 8, 2017 at 6:15am PST

Cool.

Feels like there are better uses for that TV than this.

THANKS FOR THE SMART TV!

A post shared by Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) on Mar 7, 2017 at 5:18pm PST

USADA visits.

Derrick Lewis appears to be enjoying vacation.

Dominican Republic

A post shared by Derrick Lewis (@thebeastufc) on Mar 8, 2017 at 2:02pm PST

Woodley getting his acting on.

#SwipeRight Filming today and realize #ImMyDadfysSon !!!!!!! #TheFavorite

A post shared by Tyron Woodley (@twooodley) on Mar 8, 2017 at 12:52pm PST

Chiesa rocking a Diaz shirt.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2012: Pat Curran knocked out Joe Warren to win the Bellator featherweight championship at Bellator 60.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Because I thought of it while watching the rankings report, here are my current P4P rankings.

  1. Demetrious Johnson
  2. Tyron Woodley
  3. Conor McGregor
  4. Jose Aldo
  5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
  6. Daniel Cormier
  7. Anthony Johnson
  8. Joseph Benavidez
  9. Max Holloway
  10. Stipe Miocic
  11. Amanda Nunes
  12. Demian Maia
  13. Fabricio Werdum
  14. Cody Garbrandt
  15. Dominick Cruz

Also, Robbie Lawler should be ranked ahead of Stephen Thompson at welterweight as should Maia. Thompson has wins over exactly one currently ranked welterweight… Jake Ellenberger. Maia has six. I’m sure y’all will hate both of those takes so have at me. Until tomorrow, be easy.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.

Source: mmafighting

Cormier on UFC 210 poster: ‘How many favors did Rumble have to call in to make this sh-t happen?’

Daniel Cormier is not happy with how the official UFC 210 poster turned out. On April 8th, Daniel Cormier will be defending his light heavyweight title in a rematch against Anthony Johnson. But as early as now, he already holds complaints on the pre-fight promotional materials.
“DC” in particular was not happy about being his photo being at the lower half at the foreground of the poster, while the photo of “Rumble” occupied the larger space at the background. He took out his annoyance in a recent Instagram post.

What is this? How many favors did Rumble have to call in to make this shit happen? Just remember last time the challenger looked so big on the poster RDA beat cowboy in one round. #andstill @ufc A post shared by Daniel “DC” Cormier (@dc_mma) on Mar 8, 2017 at 8:19am PST

“What is this? How many favors did Rumble have to call in to make this s–t happen? Just remember last time the challenger looked so big on the poster RDA beat cowboy in one round.”
Cormier was referring to the similar treatment given to the pre-fight promo poster for the lightweight title rematch between Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone in December 2015.
Both fighters are coming off victories as they enter their rematch, with Cormier winning against Anderson Silva at UFC 200 last July via decision. Johnson, on the other hand, knocked out Glover Teixeira in the first round at UFC 202 a month later.
UFC 210 will take place at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. It will be co-headlined by a top contender middleweight fight between former champion Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi.
Source: bloody

Watch The MMA Beat live today

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Watch “The MMA Beat” live today at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT / 6 p.m. BST.

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Source: mmafighting

[GRAPHIC Photo] David Haye’s ruptured achilles ‘felt like I stepped on a bear trap’

David Haye says his achilles injury felt like he stepped on a bear trap. It actually looked worse than that. David Haye fought WBC cruiserweight champ Tony Bellew this past weekend at the O2 Arena in London. After a pretty even match up earlier on, Haye sustained an achilles injury, and was subsequently knocked down. He continued to fight for 5 rounds, until his cornermen eventually threw in the towel and stopped the fight in the 11th.
“It was a strange situation – I was getting into my flow and it felt like I stepped on a bear trap,” Haye told BBC.
“I knew it was completely ruptured – the pain was terrible, when I put my foot down I could hear it crunching, but the adrenaline is so high when you’re fighting you can conjure up the energy from somewhere to keep going.
Haye had surgery on the injury, and while he did make a bear trap comparison, his achilles actually looked far worse. Check out the photo below courtesy of the same BBC interviewer, but be warned in advance that it very graphic.

*WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGE*The top pic is a healthy achilles. The bottom is @mrdavidhaye ‘s ‘spaghetti junction’ pre-surgery. 5 rounds on that. pic.twitter.com/cP2vsBIXeB— Natalie Pirks (@Natpirks) March 8, 2017

Source: bloody

UFC 212 card adds three bouts

Three bouts have been added to the UFC 212 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a mix of veterans and rising stars taking to the Octagon on June 3.In middleweight action, former TUF Brazil winner Antonio Carlos Junior will likely get the opportunity to show off his ground game against fellow jiu-jitsu ace Eric Spicely.In his first bout since a TKO victory over Manvel Gamburyan in November, veteran Brazilian battler Johnny Eduardo returns to take on talented bantamweight prospect Matthew Lopez. And in flyweight action, Marco Beltran will face off against Octagon newcomer Deiveson Alcantara.UFC … Read the Full Article Here
Source: ufc

Edgar to test Rodriguez at UFC 211

Fresh from his stirring stoppage of UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn in January, Mexican phenom Yair Rodriguez will look to take down another former UFC champion when he faces Frankie Edgar on the stacked UFC 211 card in Dallas on May 13.

 
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In the UFC 211 main event at American Airlines Center, heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defends his crown against Junior Dos Santos, and in the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her strawweight title against Jessica Andrade.One of the UFC’s top rising stars, Rodriguez is unbeaten in six Octagon bouts thus far, with wins over Penn, Charle … Read the Full Article Here
Source: ufc

UFC Unfiltered: Francis Ngannou and Fortaleza preview

Number 6 ranked UFC Heavyweight and rising star Francis Ngannou joins Jim and Matt in studio to discuss his dream of becoming a UFC champion, his life in Cameroon, being homeless in Paris, wanting to fight Cain Velsquez next, and the desire to become a complete fighter. First, the guys preview UFC Fight Night 106: Belfort vs. Gastelum, possible next matchups for Tony Ferguson, Michael Bisping’s comments on Woodley vs. Thompson 2, recently announced fights, and the results of the World MMA Awards 2017.Some of the highlights from Episode 76 of UFC Unfiltered include:Francis on using hi … Read the Full Article Here
Source: ufc

Gastelum finally putting it all together before Fortaleza

Kelvin Gastelum was an unrefined lump of coal when he won the middleweight competition on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.At the time, the Yuma, Arizona native was the youngest competitor in the history of the show at 21 years old. He’d fought five times before standing astride Dylan Andrews as the final two contestants to be picked from the cast of 14, getting by on his athleticism and instincts, drawing on his wrestling background and speed to turn back a host of regional level middleweights before making his way into the UFC.What … Read the Full Article Here
Source: ufc

UFC Fortaleza – Fight by Fight

VITOR BELFORT VS KELVIN GASTELUMThe book on Vitor Belfort has never changed – if an opponent can survive the first round, then all bets are off. That scouting report may be even more accurate as Belfort approaches his 40th birthday in April. So can Kelvin Gastelum hold off the rush of “The Phenom” and patiently wait for his time to strike in rounds two through five? The answer depends on whether the former Ultimate Fighter winner has the fight maturity to avoid a brawl, pick his shots and make a late surge. If he can be patient, he may just secure the biggest win of his car … Read the Full Article Here
Source: ufc