Angela “Unstoppable” Lee is the new-age powerhouse for the self-belief mantra as ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion. She has become an ecosystem of pride, self-reliance and self-assurance as she is a force to be reckoned with in Asia’s mixed martial arts scene. The world of martial arts is innate for Angela because both her Singaporean father and her South Korean mother are martial artists. The twenty year old who is Canadian- American started training from a young age, hence getting her opponents to second-guess their chances when she is up against them.
Setting the fight world ablaze for young women globally that nothing is impossible, her success is a combination of intelligence, a focused attitude, a fierce commitment to her art and an unshakable conviction of her gift. Angela’s self-empowerment and the drive to live life everyday dedicated to what she loves doing, epitomises the prowess of an athlete who is here to stay.
Yet unlike her cage persona where she leaves nothing to chance, Angela Lee in person appears to be exactly like any fun-loving and sociable twenty year old. I first met her on a shoot, where she displayed the utmost professionalism and the second time was when two champions met; The largest sports media property in Asia, ONE Championship™ (ONE), held a power packed session with Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling at the Evolve Far East Square in Singapore, Angela alongside her brother ONE Championship athlete Christian “The Warrior” Lee showed the world champion swimmer some MMA ropes.
Before the session began, she mingled with the audience and was very forthcoming when it came to picture taking. Once the training started it was apparent in the way she directed it, that MMA is not a career she takes lightly at any time. Her commitment and enthusiasm shone right through, making her a champion on and off the battleground.
WriteHaus Asia had a chat with Angela to find out what really drives her to be a champion;
1) What is the most challenging aspect of being a fighter?
The mental and emotional aspect is the most challenging part about being a fighter. There are so many sacrifices that you need to make in order to achieve your goal. There are so many struggles behind the scenes that people don’t see. But the sacrifices are what makes the victory that much sweeter and the victory is what makes everything worth it. You have to learn to embrace the grind and appreciate each part of the journey.
2) How would you describe the discipline necessary for the sport?
MMA is the toughest sport in the world. It requires a tremendous amount of discipline, commitment, and desire to improve. You need to be tough- physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally in order to succeed in this sport.
3) What has fame been like for you at this stage?
Winning the title in ONE Championship has opened the door for amazing new experiences. I’ve done so many media engagements and travelled to so many new countries. I’m extremely grateful for where I am in life right now.
4) Being a fighter is often regarded as a male – dominated sport, what would you like to see changed to promote equality?
Nowadays, I feel like that stereotype is becoming less and less common. In the last year, there has been a tremendous growth in the number of female fighters being signed as well as WMMA fights being held in ONE Championship. In May of this year, I became the inaugural Women’s Atomweight World Champion and simultaneously had the honor of becoming the promotion’s first ever female champion. So much progress has been made in such little time; This is only the beginning for Women’s MMA.
5) What distinguishes you from every fighter in your class?
My MMA fight style is what distinguishes me from every other fighter in the Women’s division. I always look for the kill and work to finish the fight!
6) Who is one person you dream of fighting with?
I don’t fill my head with thoughts of who I’d like to fight. No one stays at the top by looking at other people. You stay at the top by focusing on how you can better yourself. It doesn’t matter who my opponents are because I fight to be the best I can be.
7) If you were not fighting as a career, what else would you have been doing?
I’m not too sure. My whole life has been dedicated to martial arts. I never really had a plan B. This was everything that I wanted to do.
8) We all experience moments of despair, what do you do to keep yourself motivated and driven when times are tough?
In life, there are many highs and lows that everyone goes through. I’m able to overcome some of these obstacles by keeping my family close and always finding something to be grateful for.
9) What advice do you have for women who want to become fighters or pursue any sports for that matter?
It’s not going to be easy. You have to love what you do or else it won’t be worth it. In order to be successful, you must have passion, persistence, and a whole lot of work ethic. Just keep going. Appreciate the good days and embrace the bad days. Stay humble and stay hungry. Chasing your dream isn’t easy, but it’s sure as hell worth it.
10) What was that personal moment in your career that told you that you had made it?
I don’t allow myself to ever have the satisfaction of “I made it” because then I’d stop working hard. I’d stop improving. Complacency and contentment are the downfall of any and every fighter, especially a champion. I choose to always strive for greatness because that’s the standard I hold myself to.
11) How has your family been instrumental in your success?
My family is the most important thing in my life. Because of their sacrifices and support, I get to do what I love. I am so grateful for them. My family is my anchor. They keep me humble but also help motivate me to keep chasing my dreams.
12) Most successful people have certain habits that make their success a reality. Could you share with us two habits of yours, if any?
- I count my blessings. Every day, I reflect and I always find something to be grateful for.
- I plan ahead. I’m constantly looking at my calendars, visualizing and mentally preparing myself for what’s to come.
The reigning Atomweight World Champion will take on Taiwan’s Jenny Huang to defend her title on March 11 2017 in Thailand, where ONE Championship will host its second mixed martial arts event.
Let’s cheer on our fiesty fighter!
WriteHaus Asia would like to thank Angela Lee for granting us this interview.
Photos Courtesy of ONE Championship
Chief Writer (WriteHaus Asia)
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