ONE chairman pitches women's MMA super fight


Posted at Apr 05 2020 03:38 PM

ONE Championship chief executive Chatri Sityodtong. File photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- ONE Championship chief executive Chatri Sityodtong proposed a "dream match" between two of Asia's best female fighters during an extensive Facebook Live Q&A with fans last week.

During the candid session that lasted nearly 40 minutes, Sityodtong was asked to reveal his "dream match-up for women's mixed martial arts."

"For women's mixed martial arts, I would love to see Jingnan Xiong vs. Weili Zhang. I think Jingnan is the one to beat Weili Zhang," he answered.

The bout will almost certainly be the biggest women's fight in the history of Asian MMA, and a landmark moment for the sport's growth in China.

Both fighters have taken part in some of the most iconic fights in recent history of the women's MMA. Weili Zhang defended her UFC women's strawweight belt in an exceptional showdown with former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March. The fight was an instant classic.

Jingnan Xiong, meanwhile, continued her epic rivalry with ONE Atomweight champion Angela Lee back in October. In a follow-up to her memorable win against Lee in Japan in 2019, ‘The Panda’ lost via submission in the dying seconds of a pulsating affair to tie-up their rivalry at 1-1.

Before that loss to Lee, Jingnan had won nine straight fights, establishing herself as one of the very best in the world.

Incidentally, Lee was another fighter that Sityodtong considered when it comes to dream match-ups.

"I think Angela Lee vs. any atomweight in the world. Angela Lee is incredible," he said. "I've seen her in training. I've seen her go into a bout with pneumonia, with doctor's advice not to compete, and I've tried my best to stop the fight."

"Angela Lee is an absolute warrior, and she's just a genius on the ground," he added.

Lee is one of the biggest stars in women's MMA, and is likely to be back in action in the near future when she defends her atomweight crown against Filipino challenger Denice Zamboanga.

The other name mentioned by Sityodtong was the supremely-talented Stamp Fairtex. The Thai became a double champion in ONE Championship at just 22 years old, winning world titles in Muay Thai and kickboxing.

Despite losing her kickboxing belt to Janet Todd in February, Stamp has her sights at winning MMA gold again, and showed off the rapid evolution of her ground game with a submission victory over India's Asha Roka last year.

"I think Stamp Fairtex could beat Weili Zhang as well. Stamp Fairtex against any female striker in the world or any female MMA fighter in the world. Even though she’s only 4-0 in MMA, she’s a complete beast," said Sityodtong.

While a cross-promotional bout with the UFC remains unlikely, there have been big collaborations in recent times, with Rizin and Bellator co-promoting a show together in 2019.

Sityodtong makes it clear that he is open to the concept.

"I would definitely like to see the best of the East vs. the best of the West," he said. "UFC vs. ONE Championship, I think, would be phenomenal, and I think the whole entire world would watch it."

"And I'd love to see world champions vs. world champions, so definitely, for sure, I'm open to it."

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