Interview with ONE MMA Champion Angela Lee

Ladies and gentlemen, we…are…live! This is the main event and the moment you’ve all been waiting for! After having interviewed a Muay Thai legend and a few Muay Thai champions we are now bringing you another exclusive, and very special,  fighter interview. It’s time!

And now introducing the champion. Fighting out of the red corner. This woman is a mixed martial artist. Holding a professional record of 6 wins, 0 losses. Standing at 1.63 m and weighing in at 52 kilograms. Fighting out of Singapore, representing EVOLVE MMA. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the reigning, defending, ONE Championship Atomweight champion of the world. ANGELA, UNSTOPPABLE, LEE.

I’m pretty excited about this interview since I followed your fights quite closely and, of course, tuned in to your last one when you won the title in a really good and entertaining bout. Now I’m even more excited about the fact that you’re going to defend your title in March here in Bangkok and hence am very thankful for your time! So let’s jump right into it!

I obviously did my homework and stalked you as much as possible. The  Evolve MMA website lists you as “Instructor, MMA – World Champion”. How does that feel by now? You’re THE woman. How long did it take to realize that?

The realization hit me as soon as the belt was placed around my waist! I feel very happy and proud whenever I hear that title. I’ve worked very, very hard for it, and to see all my efforts pay off is truly rewarding.

Usually I introduce my interview partners a bit. With you that introduction is a bit different. Youngest MMA Champion in any major promotion. Atomweight CHAMPION OF THE WOOOOOOOORLD (that’s my best Buffer imitation). How do you introduce yourself though? Or don’t you have to do that anymore?

I always introduce myself whenever I meet people and just like anyone else, I say, “Hi, I’m Angela.” I don’t like to assume that people know who I am. I like to stay humble – it’s such an important quality to have.

[Tweet “”I like to stay humble – it’s such an important quality to have.” – Angela Lee”]

Again congratulations to your success of course and I’ll have some questions on that in a moment but let’s start with some background questions first if that’s ok. The obvious one that you probably had to answer a million times but one has to ask: Why did you start fighting? And why MMA? (Often Taekwondo or Karate are Martial Arts that parents encourage their children to take, but not MMA).

My parents are lifelong martial artists – same with my three other siblings and me. Naturally, I grew up in the gym and began training in MMA at a very young age. Initially, my parents taught me martial arts for self-defense purposes, but as I started training and competing more, my passion for martial arts catapulted me to where I am today.

What did you parents say when you said you’re going to fight?

My parents were extremely supportive of my decision. They are still very much behind my MMA career.

You were never scared of getting hurt?

No, never.

I read a lot about the intense training that is behind your success. Could you walk us briefly through a ‘normal’ day?

During fight camp (which is typically six to eight weeks), I train six days a week, six to seven hours a day and have multiple training sessions throughout the day to optimize my training. I wake up at 5 am, have weight training from 6 to 7 am. Private training from 9 to 10 am and again, from 12 to 1 pm. Group training is from 6 to 7 pm and fighter training is from 7 to 8 pm.

Is there time for free time, fun and friends? If so, what are you doing when you’re not training. Anything to take your mind off fighting or do you just go and watch more fights?

Saturday nights and Sundays are when I have my free time. I love to spend time with my family, my dog Rocky, and go to the beach. I also love movies and getting massages!

How important is the Martial Arts culture for you? If it is important at all or is it just a sport where you are trying to excel?

For me and my family, martial arts is a part of our lifestyle. My whole family trains; my siblings and I compete. Our parents are our coaches and we own a family-run martial arts gym. Martial arts is practically in our blood!

[Tweet “”Martial arts is practically in our blood!” – Angela Lee”]

Most of the people in competitive sports have some pre-match rituals or some ways to get them psyched an hyped up. Listening to aggressive music, praying, etc. Do you have something like that? And if so, are you superstitious in any way when it comes to fighting? 

I like to listen to music. The genres usually change throughout the night – from happy music to music that gets me hyped. My family travels with me to every fight, so they’re my constant. Other than that, I don’t really have any pre-fight rituals.

Alright. Now you’re psyched up, warm and ready to go for your championship fight. What do you think before such a fight?

Right before I fight, I run over the possible scenarios in my head, visualize the game plan, and enjoy the present moment.

When did you know, you would win in your last fight?

In my last fight, I saw that my opponent was slowing down after the third round, so that’s when I picked up the pace and dominated the last two championship rounds. At the end of the fight, when it came to the judges’ decision, I was confident that I had won because I was constantly attacking and came close to finishing the fight numerous times. 

What happened after you won the Championship? 24/7 non-stop celebration? Or back to the cage and grinding?

After I won the belt, I took some time to celebrate with my family and my teams from United MMA and Evolve MMA, then continued training harder than ever.

Talking about training and grinding. How do you motivate yourself? Only by trying to be the best or is there something else that motivates you?

Not every day is going to be easy, some days are harder than others. However, I’m able to stay motivated by keeping my family close and always finding something to be grateful for.

Do you have a role model? Someone who inspires you?

My parents, always.

Do you trashtalk? Do others trashtalk during the fight?

No, I’m not a trash talker. That’s just not who I am. I’ve also never experienced that from my opponents.

What’s the worst part of training? Is there anything that you dislike or do you like everything and that’s why you’re the champ?

The dieting and meal prep! I love food, so having to be more careful about what I eat is more challenging.

What’s your preferred Martial Art? Is there such thing?

I believe that MMA is its own style, so that’s my favorite martial art.

Do you feel sorry when punching your opponent in the face?

Nope! They’d do it right back to me if they had the chance.

How did you feel when you got hit the first time?

In the moment, I honestly don’t feel it, because of the adrenaline. If I do get hit, I’ll only notice it the day after!

Do you build aggression towards your opponent? Like ‘This bi*@$ is going down!’? ;-)

Haha, no.

What other talents do you have, besides fighting?

When I’m not in fight camp, I can eat… A LOT. Haha, I don’t know if that really counts as a talent though.

[Tweet “”When I’m not in fight camp, I can eat… A LOT” – Angela Lee on hidden talents ;-)”]

What’s your worst trait? Anything that people make fun of or that you don’t like? 

Well, because I like to eat so much, my worst trait happens to be over eating! 

What will be your next tattoo? Really like the latest one btw! Where did you get it?

Hmm.. I’m not sure yet! Thank you! My last tattoo was from Kai Smart at Black Cat Tattoo in Hawaii. 

Is there anything you are afraid of?

I hate bugs! 

You’re going to have your next fight, and your first title defense, here in Bangkok. Have you been here before? Is the location important for such a fight or doesn’t it matter? Last time ONE was here we saw our hometown hero losing. So is it maybe better to fight not in your home country?

Yes, I have been to Bangkok before, and I absolutely love it there! For me, the location doesn’t matter too much because it’s all the same once you step in the cage.

[Tweet “”Yes, I have been to Bangkok before, and I absolutely love it there!” Angela Lee”]

What’s next for you? Staying the champ of course. And then…conquering UFC, becoming a movie star (happened before, I heard)?

Defending my belt, of course! That’s the only thing on my mind right now. I like to take things one step at a time.

Famous last words:

Tune in and watch my first title defense, 11 March! Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss it!

Fantastic. This marks the end of our interview. Thanks again Angela for the time! I’m very much looking forward to your title defense and can’t wait to witness what’s next on your remarkable journey!

Make sure to follow Angela on facebook, twitter and instagram and check out Evolve MMA, and, of course, Angela’s first title defense for ONE Championship here in Bangkok on March 11. 

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at
Sascha is the publisher of and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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