Never in the history of mixed martial arts has there ever been concurrent brother-and-sister world champions from a major organization. That all changed earlier this year when Mililani, Hawaii’s Christian Lee joined older sister, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee, in becoming a world champion.
The 21-year-old athlete of Singaporean and Korean descent stunned fans when he lifted the ONE Lightweight World Championship from Japanese legend Shinya Aoki last May. Lee is at least 15 years Aoki’s junior, but age mattered very little in a battle between two highly-skilled warriors.
Christian realized his dream of becoming a world champion, and followed in his older sister Angela’s footsteps. Soon, they will get the chance to once again perform on the same night.
What Have They Accomplished?
Angela and Christian Lee have been battling stereotypes their entire careers. But if it’s one thing father Ken and mother Jewelz have taught their children it is to not let circumstances define them.
Being Asian-American is an amazing privilege but it doesn’t come without its challenges. As Asians, we aren’t expected to be athletic, let alone excel in professional sports. So what the Lee siblings have done is nothing short of incredible. It breaks the mold and proves that any dream is achievable.
Angela captured her first world title in 2016 at the age of 20, the youngest female in mixed martial arts to ever do so. Since then she’s been able to defend the belt successfully three times and is today known as one of the most talented women in the sport. Years later, Christian replicated the feat, becoming the youngest male mixed martial arts world champion in history after just graduating from High School.
Needless to say, the success the Lee siblings have achieved is not without hard work. Both Angela and Christian have had to sacrifice a lot of their youth — hanging out with friends, enjoying a carefree diet, and more, just to reach the level they are at now. But they’ve chased their dreams and have no regrets.
“I would find out I have a bout coming up, and then I would ask my teachers if I could finish all my work up front for the next month. I would do it all, then leave for my bout and come back,” Christian Lee recalled in an interview with ONE Championship.
The Amazing Lee Family
Angela and Christian are not the only members of the Lee family who have the martial arts credentials to impress. Both of their parents are well-accomplished martial arts athletes.
Father Ken has practiced martial arts since childhood. He holds black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, pankration, and taekwondo. He is also a sixth-degree hapdosool master black belt. In addition, he was previously the head coach of the Canadian Sports Jiu-Jitsu Association, and served as President of the Canadian Pangration Federation.
Mother Jewelz is a two-time Canadian Silver Medalist who also holds black belts in taekwondo and hapdosool.
The Lees introduced their children to martial arts at an early age, and it became a family affair. Today, Ken serves as their head coach.
Angela and Christian’s two younger siblings, Adrian and Victoria, are also following a similar path. The two children are already youth world champions in various martial arts disciplines. In addition, Christian’s fiance Katie teaches at the family gym United MMA in Hawaii, while Angela’s husband Bruno Pucci is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling world champion.
To say that martial arts runs in the family’s blood is a massive understatement. They are martial arts personified, and they live and breathe in its ways.
Catch Angela and Christian Make History Once Again
Fans who are curious about just how good Angela and Christian Lee really are will get the chance to see them both perform live on the same evening.
After multiple-time world champion Eddie Alvarez was forced to pull out of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final due to injury, Christian stepped up to take his place. He’ll now face Turkey’s Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, Japan this October 12th.
“I received the call that Eddie Alvarez was injured and they needed a last minute replacement to fight Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev,” said Christian.
“Today, the fight is booked and I will be stepping into the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final. My ONE Lightweight World Title will not be on the line. However, we will be fighting for the Grand Prix title. I believe a true champion should be ready to fight anyone at any time. I am more than happy to share this card alongside my sister (Angela Lee), the champion! You do not want to miss this event.”
Angela, on the other hand, will be defending her ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship on the same card but in the main event.
ONE: CENTURY is the single greatest world championship martial arts event in the last 100 years. It features world championship title bouts, World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and World Champion versus World Champion match-ups.
Part I of ONE: CENTURY will be broadcast live in the United States via TNT and B/R Live. Part II in the evening, will be broadcast live across more than 140 countries worldwide and streamed to 2.6 billion potential viewers through the world’s largest television networks.
Part I of ONE: CENTURY starts from 9:00 a.m. JST (October 13) / 8:00 p.m. EST (October 12). Part II starts from 5:00 p.m. JST (October 13) / 4:00 a.m. EST (October 13).