Angela Lee is the one and only ONE Atomweight Champion, holding the belt since 2016. She’s successfully defended her title four times, effectively cleaning out the division.
However, a new crop of promising fighters are answering the call and making their cases to get the next shot at the champion. Let’s look at each of these contenders and their current resume’s to gauge their chances of convincing the ONE brass that they’re gold.
Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol
Arguably the most successful Indonesian fighter on the ONE roster, she is unbeaten in terms of her activity. She fought three times in 2019 and an amazing six times the year before.
Gaol has the most in-ring experience out of all the possible contenders. She has more MMA wins than her contemporaries have fights.
However, the hot pursuit for a title shot has taken its toll as she falls short in the undefeated department.
Her quest for gold has been derailed twice by Jihin Radzuan and Puja Tomar respectively and has yet to face opponents of the same caliber as the others on this list.
If some of the other picks drop out for some reason, Gaol is always within striking distance of getting the call.
The Strong Heart Fighter has put herself on the periphery of title talks with her latest win against Nyrene Crowley at ONE: Warrior’s Code.
The undefeated prospect has never gone the distance in both her professional and amateur career. She shows a lot of promise, especially in the grappling department.
Her style is arguably the best one to challenge Angela Lee, making her an exciting prospect.
The hype train loses a bit of steam, however, when people consider the quality of opponents she’s beat so far. Crowley was a step down from Angelie Sabanal and Rika Ishige providing little evidence to cement her status as top tier.
A fight with Bi Nguyen will be the real test for Hirata, as it will gauge whether she deserves a shot at gold.
Even though Janet Todd gave Stamp Fairtex her first-ever loss at ONE: King of the Jungle, the former two-sport champion still has a clean MMA record.
She took a shortcut and beat opponents that are still question marks for the other two on the list – Puja Tomar and Bi Nguyen respectively.
Stamp is a fan-favorite and already has gold of her own to prove she belongs in the cage with “Unstoppable”. This fight is interesting as it’s the classic striker versus grappler match-up.
The champion has been stopped by strikes before, but Stamp has yet to be tested on the ground by someone of Lee’s quality.
If Stamp does challenge Angela Lee for her MMA belt, the hype and audience might be the biggest ONE will ever see.
A dark horse in every sense of the word. Denice Zamboanga has only been with ONE Championship for three months, but she’s skyrocketed to be the front runner to challenge Angela Lee for the Atomweight crown.
Her entire case primarily rides on her upset victory over two-time challenger Mei Yamaguchi at ONE: King of the Jungle.
In our Read the Lead article, we said that a win over Yamaguchi pretty much locks a title shot. With that single impressive performance, Zamboanga proves that she has the skill to step in the cage with the champion.
ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtonog apparently made it all but official ringside as soon as the final bell rang. Whether or not he actually goes through with it is up in the air.
Wild Card: Michelle Nicolini
Angela Lee’s personal boogeywoman. Michelle Nicolini has beaten the champion twice, although only one of them was put on record.
The Brazilian is responsible for shutting down any Strawweight aspirations for Unstoppable and will present an untold number of challenges for Lee if she decides to move down in weight.
Not only has Nicolini proven to be more than a match on the ground with Lee, but the loss will leave a psychological mark on the champion as well.
If an Atomweight fight with Lee and Nicolini ever happens, the champion might not be the favorite to win it.
Who do you think should challenge Angela Lee for her belt next? Did we miss out on a promising prospect? Let us know and lay out your case on why they should get a shot at gold.
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