Ahead of Friday’s ONE atomweight grand prix final clash at ONE: Winter Warriors, reigning atomweight champion Angela Lee has given her take ahead of the matchup between India’s Ritu Phogat and Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex.
Phogat and Stamp both won their way through to the tournament final and will face off with the winner set to challenge returning atomweight champ Lee in 2022.
And, ahead of the bout, Lee said she was happy to see two talented but respectful fighters in the final, with both of the two tournament contenders reflecting her own values of martial arts respect, both inside and outside the circle.
“I really love Stamp and Ritu,” said Lee.
“I think they both have such big hearts and they’re both very humble. I’ve been a fan of them for a while now so I just want to congratulate them both on being in the finals of this (final).
“I’m very eager to see how they face off on December 3rd. I think there’s huge mutual respect among us, I just appreciate the respect.
“I think that you don’t need to trash talk your opponent, I don’t think that’s who they are and that’s not who I am.
“We don’t need to put on a show for the world and create some kind of drama that’s not there.”
Stamp knows what it takes to capture championship gold in ONE, having claimed the atomweight world titles in both Muay Thai and kickboxing during her career.
Now she’s fully focused on repeating that success in mixed martial arts, Stamp is ready to take on Phogat, whose wrestling game presents a stark contrast to her elite-level striking.
“I think that everyone is experiencing some pressure in every fight. Both of us should be feeling the same amount of pressure,” said the Thai.
“If the fight goes to the ground, I will have to find a way to get back into my own game.
“I will not play her game. I think that if she would try to stand and fight with me, she would get knocked out.”
Phogat, meanwhile, says her ability to take the fight to the canvas will be the deciding factor when the pair face off on December 3.
“I just feel that I am inching closer to my goal and I’m super enthusiastic about it,” she said.
“My preparations have been good, it’s been on full steam. I’m really excited about the upcoming match.
“In the atomweight division, my wrestling prowess has been unmatched, it’s been unparalleled.
“I feel that Stamp won’t be able to beat me. (I) look forward to the 3rd of December and I’m inviting everyone to understand, to see, and witness for themselves.”