After nine ONE Championship bouts, reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee, 21, of Singapore remains undefeated. Among the top contenders in her division is Gina “Conviction” Iniong, 29, of Team Lakay of Baguio City, Philippines.
Although Iniong has yet to face Lee, the Filipino mixed martial artist has fought the reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion’s rival Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi, 35, of Japan twice. Iniong won the first match but the Japanese fighter emerged victorious in their rematch, which took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore at “ONE: Immortal Pursuit” on November 24, 2017.
Yamaguchi defeated Iniong via unanimous decision at “ONE: Immortal Pursuit.” After this, the Filipino fighter discovered many things about herself that served useful in preparing for her future outings.
“I know if I had beaten Mei, I would have come very close to a title shot,” Iniong stated. “Instead, I was a step slower the entire night, and I lost. Still, I was happy to be able to showcase my skills in such a huge bout.”
After “ONE: Immortal Pursuit,” Iniong made a thunderous statement, looking better than ever against former world title challenger Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang at “ONE: Heroes of Honor” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on April 20, 2018. With her Team Lakay brand of wrestling, Iniong dominated Huang in all areas, nullifying her Chinese opponent’s submission wizardry.
On July 7, 2018, Iniong will face another former world title challenger at “ONE: Battle for the Heavens” at the Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China. The Team Lakay fighter and Istela Nunes, 25, of Brazil will compete in the atomweight division.
If Iniong can defeat Nunes and notch another decisive triumph, the Baguio City native could conceivably find herself as the next challenger for the women’s atomweight trinket. Although a date with Lee is certainly a possibility, Iniong assures that she is not taking Nunes for granted.
“If I can keep getting better and keep winning, I know I will reach the top sooner or later,” Iniong shared. “I am willing to do it step-by-step.”
Iniong is keeping an eye on the future while she is entirely focused in her three-round atomweight encounter with Nunes. Aware of what is at stake, the Filipino fighter emphasized that she is not looking past her Brazilian opponent at “ONE: Battle for the Heavens.”
“There is a lot of pressure on me to perform because I am considered one of the top competitors in the division,” the Team Lakay fighter explained. “Although I consider myself still in the development process, a lot is expected of me, and with each bout, I have to give it my absolute best.”
Nunes is coming out of a loss to Lee while Iniong is coming out of her win over Huang. Watch the bout between Iniong and Huang here: