Singaporean mixed martial arts star and reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee was days away from once again being part of history, until an unfortunate injury prevented her from doing so.
Set to compete in the main event of ONE Championship’s Heart of the Lion card in Singapore in the first-ever female champion-versus-champion match in ONE history, Lee was scheduled to move up in weight and challenge reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan.
If Lee went on to win, she would have been the first female two-division champion in the promotion’s history.
Days prior to the fight however, it was announced that Lee had pulled out after aggravating an injury in training.
Easily one of the most celebrated women’s mixed martial artists in Asia, Lee has been making history her entire career.
At just 19 years old, Lee made her professional mixed martial arts debut with ONE Championship and quickly made a splash, with five consecutive victories, all coming via submission in no later than the second round.
This string of success led to her earning a shot at the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship, opposite Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi.
After a back-and-forth five-round affair, it was Lee who was awarded the decision victory, making the promotion’s first women’s atomweight queen, just months shy of turning 20 years old.
Since then, Lee has taken on all comers and has successfully turned them back, with three title defenses to date.
Throughout her remarkable run as champion however, Lee gone through her fair share of setbacks and has faced more adversity than most can handle.
In her second title defense against Brazilian striker Istela Nunes, Lee not only needed to battle the most dangerous stand-up fighter that she’s ever faced, but she also had to deal with a sickness.
A week leading up to the fight, Lee was diagnosed with a form of pneumonia. Lee could have easily decided to pull out from the bout, but she decided to soldier on and compete.
“Not once did I think of giving up or calling off this fight. That's not who I am. I'm a fighter and I choose to be fearless in the face of adversity because resilience is what leads to victory,” Lee said then.
Not only did Lee overcome the sickness, but she also did a masterful move of imposing her game plan on Nunes and scored the submission win in the second round.
The biggest test however, was yet to come.
Lee was set to defend her title for a third time in December of 2017 against a former opponent in Yamaguchi.
A month prior to the fight however, Lee was involved in a car accident.
Fortunately, Lee suffered only a concussion and minor burns, but still had to withdraw from the scheduled title defense against Yamaguchi.
In May of 2018, in front of an adoring crowd in Singapore, Lee made a triumphant return to the cage successfully defended her title against Yamaguchi, again winning a five-round decision.
This most recent injury is just the latest in a string of setbacks that Lee has had to face in her young career.
But as she has always done, Lee has found a way to overcome these setbacks, and won’t be long before she makes another triumphant return.
When she does, Lee could very well be on the verge of making history once more.