“She doesn’t deserve it!”
“She should be stripped of her title!”
“She’s holding up the whole division.”
Exciting as it is to welcome a new addition to the family, Angela Lee’s journey was not an easy one. She has decided to take time off to prepare for motherhood but was also demanded to the sidelines for an extended period of time.
After all, doesn’t this World Champion have every right to keep her title?
In any mixed martial arts organisation, if a fighter needs to take time off for a year or two due to an injury, they do not get stripped of their title. They become interim champions until they are ready to defend the title once more.
Yet behind her outstanding achievements in the world of mixed martial arts are harsh criticisms from the public.
So what—and more importantly, how—did she respond?
She, for one, didn’t take kindly to the line of questions and criticisms. She stood tall and fired back, asserting her stance that she still is, and always has been, the rightful ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion.
This March will be Lee’s first fight since giving birth to her firstborn in 2020. She’s determined to defend her championship title and throne once again in the upcoming fight, held in Singapore.
A family of fighters
Born in Canada to a Singaporean father and South Korean mother, Angela Lee comes from a family of fighters. She grew up training in martial arts, coached by her father. Both her parents are highly decorated martial artist competitors and instructors. She has been training ever since she could walk.
Life of a fighter
When she has a fight booked, it can get pretty intense due to the long and strenuous training at the fight camp.
“When we’re not in fight camp, we’re just like regular people. We do normal things like grocery shopping or going out,” said Angela with her usual bubbly demeanour.
She welcomed a baby girl
In recent months, she has been taking time off and away from the octagon. This is not just due to the pandemic, but the atomweight champion recently welcomed her bundle of joy.
Lee, who is married to fellow fighter Bruno Pucci, announced the news on social media in 2020, revealing that she is 11 weeks pregnant and gave birth to her firstborn Ava Marie Pucci in April last year.
A message for her critics
After becoming a mother, Angela Lee seems to be relishing one of the best moments of her life at this point. However, while she was on leave, a group of the audience appears to be keen to see her vacate the title.
Although ONE Championship administrators have not indicated that, a few media personalities are raising eyebrows and providing remarks. It was upsetting but she stood her ground, channelling her focus and energy on having a healthy pregnancy and getting fight ready.
Yes, Angela is still fighting
Motherhood has not kept her away from the gym. She has gone full force into training and is determined to prove her critics wrong with an upcoming comeback fight.
Less than three months after her delivery, she has already made her way back onto the mats in preparation for the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion in March.
As far as her day-to-day preparation, Lee shared her normal training schedule to show what a high-level MMA fighter does to get ready for a championship bout:
09:00 to 11:00 – First Training Session
13:30 to 14:30 – Second Training Session
17:00 to 19:00 – Third Training Session
The training sessions typically begin with strength and conditioning and with more sparring and higher intensity towards the end of the session.
The most difficult part of coming back to the octagon is to overcome her pre-fight nerves and self-doubts. She overcomes it by always keeping herself in check and remembering that her biggest battle is against herself. She believes that it is important for her to be in a healthy and positive mindset before competing
Every time she enters the cage and hears the screaming over the crowd’s roar, her ultimate goal is to finish the fight. She believes that having that goal in mind makes for very exciting fights. She is always determined to finish all her fights and there is no quit in her. And, these are some attributes that she would like to be known and remembered for.
Ritual is something that often crawls its way into the thick of things, despite lacking rationale. The realm of sports is no exception to it. While athletes spend years honing their skills, they do not leave out little pre-game rituals that they believe. Angela keeps a planner or notes on her phone where she writes in detail about how the fight camp is going, the different techniques and strategies that she is going over, how she feels, her current headspace and also her previous fights.
Known for being a great role model, her grit, resilience and sportsmanship, she believes that these attributes were developed from the years of training she had throughout her journey as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
Her next chapter begins
Juggling between motherhood and getting back into fight shape has been challenging. But she just kept fighting, and now the woman known as “Unstoppable” is in a career resurgence.
Whoever the opponent is, expect a fiery and motivated Lee to show up and fight, ready to defend the World Championship that she has rightfully earned, putting her critics in their place.
Lee will enter a fight on the 26th of March 2022, with World Grand Prix Champion, Stamp Fairtex, 24, to defend the ONE Women’s Atomweight world title.
Just like the old days.
Check out https://ticketmaster.sg/activity/detail/22_onex to purchase tickets to the ONE X, ONE Championship’s 10-Year Anniversary Event. Happening on the 26th of March 2022.