On Friday, September 30, the reigning atomweight queen will take her second shot at Xiong’s ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 2 in Singapore.
And this time, she’s determined to leave with the gold.
“Unstoppable” came up short in her first challenge of Xiong – losing via fifth-round TKO – before returning the favor with a dramatic submission to retain the atomweight belt.
The Singaporean-American then took two-and-a-half years away from competition surrounding the birth of her daughter in 2021.
But despite the time off, Lee believes she’s in a much better place than her opponent for this trilogy clash in U.S. primetime.
“Me and Xiong Jing Nan, we’ve had 10 rounds, and we are pretty familiar with each other styles. But the one thing I can say is that I definitely feel like I’ve evolved much more as a fighter, as a mixed martial artist, and as a champion.
“I have gained a lot more experience since our first two encounters. So this is round 11. I know she’s a tough fighter, but I’m excited for what I’m going to be bringing to the table.”
Lee’s confidence partially stems from her impressive comeback fight at ONE X this past March.
That night, the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion looked better than ever as she submitted surging challenger Stamp Fairtex to successfully defend the gold.
Meanwhile, Xiong has been more active in recent years, making three successful World Title defenses since her rematch with Lee.
But though “The Panda” remains a dangerous striker and believes she’s leveled up her game, she hasn’t been able to score a finish, with all three victories coming via decision.
For her part, Lee wasn’t too impressed with her old foe’s lack of aggression in those bouts:
“I feel like when I watched Xiong in [those recent defenses], she was not fighting to win – she was fighting not to lose. Sometimes when you’re champion for a while, you become stagnant and you’re just fighting to keep your belt, not fighting to win and destroy every person that’s in front of you.
“But with that being said, I do think that she’s going to hear that, she’s going to get angry and think that she wants to make a statement in this fight. She wants to prove to everyone that, ‘No, I’m still dangerous. I’m a killer. I’m a finisher.’ And so I’m not going to be overlooking her and using her previous fights as something to base my assumptions of her on.”