Two-division ONE world champion Christian Lee looks set to make his way back to the promotion early in 2024.
ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong told South China Morning Post that “The Warrior” has been gearing up for a return to action, which may come as soon as February.
The world’s largest martial arts organization returns to Singapore Indoor Stadium for ONE Fight Night 19 that month, so it would make sense for the Singaporean-American superstar to come back at the event.
The two-weight king will also defend one of his world titles when he steps back into action, per Sityodtong’s announcement.
“I spoke to Christian a couple of weeks ago to see how he’s doing, and he gave me the green light. He said, ‘I’m ready to go, Chatri, tell me when.’ The team and I talked about it, so February is when Christian will come back,” the chairman and CEO told SCMP.
“It will be a title defense. It’s going to be a nice card, so we’re trying to figure it out. It’s been narrowed down to three opponents who are all worthy of a title shot. It’s just going to come down to which athlete we think is right to go for gold.”
After the tragic passing of his younger sister, Victoria, at the end of last year, and the subsequent retirement of his older sister and former ONE women’s atomweight MMA world champion, Angela, answers were up in the air as to the fighting future of Christian.
But it appears that he has taken his time to heal in 2023. And, with the birth of his second child, “The Warrior” is focused and ready to defend his world titles.
Multiple contenders have risen in both the lightweight and welterweight MMA divisions in his time away. And Sityodtong says that some have been waiting patiently – just in case they get a shot at the crown in their respective weight brackets.
“There have been some fighters [in the division] who are refusing to fight. They are holding out, and Christian obviously has taken time off because of his sister’s passing,” Sityodtong divulged.
“He’s just had another child, Tommy, after his first daughter, Alia. A lot has happened this year for Christian, in addition to him having to heal and mourn the loss of Victoria.
“He is very fired up. He’s been training for the last few months. He says he’s in his best form ever.”