A superfight between athletes from ONE Championship and the Ultimate Fighting Champion is still a fantasy. The possibility of making this a reality was brought up on April 2, 2020 during the Facebook Live Q&A hosted by ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
Fans were invited to send in questions on a variety of topics ranging from potential signings to “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.” During the candid session that lasted almost 40 minutes, Chatri was asked to reveal his‘dream match-up for women’s mixed martial arts and his reply described what would certainly be the biggest fight in the history of Asian MMA and a landmark moment for the sport’s growth in China.
“For women’s mixed martial arts I would love to see Jingnan Xiong vs Weili Zhang,” Chatri said. “I think Jingnan is the one to beat Weili Zhang.”
“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan, 31, is the reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion. “Magnum” Zhang Weili, 30, is the reigning UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.
Both fighting out of China, Xiong and Zhang have taken part in some of the most iconic fights in the history of women’s MMA in recent times. The UFC champ defended her belt in an exceptional display of grit and high-level striking against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, 32, of Poland on March 7, 2020 and the fight was an instant classic.
On the other hand, Xiong broke the undefeated record of reigning ONE Atomweight World Champion “Unstopabble” Angela Lee, 23, of Singapore on March 31, 2019. But during their rematch on October 12, 2019, the Chinese champ lost via submission in the dying seconds of a pulsating affair to tie-up their rivalry at 1-1.
Before that loss to Lee, Xiong was on an incredible nine-fight winning streak, establishing herself as one of the very best in the world. Incidentally, the Singaporean champ was another name put forward by Chatri when considering dream match-ups.
“I think Angela Lee vs any atomweight in the world,” Chatri said. “Angela Lee is incredible. I’ve seen her in training.”
“I’ve seen her go into a bout with pneumonia with doctor’s advice not to compete and I’ve tried my best to stop the fight,” the ONE Championship boss continued. “Angela Lee’s an absolute warrior and she’s just a genius on the ground.”
Lee is one of the biggest stars in women’s MMA. She is likely to be back in action defending her atomweight crown against Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga, 23, of the Philippines in the near future.
The other name mentioned by Chatri was the supremely talented Stamp Fairtex, 22, of Thailand. She became a double champion in ONE Championship at a very young age, winning world titles in Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Despite losing the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Championship belt to Janet “JT” Todd, 34, of the United States on February 28, 2020, Stamp has her sights set on winning MMA gold before too long. The Thai fighter showed off the rapid evolution of her ground game with a submission victory over Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka, 20, of India on August 16, 2019.
“I think Stamp Fairtex could beat Weili Zhang, as well,” Chatri declared. “Stamp Fairtex against any female striker in the world or any female MMA fighter in the world. Even though she’s only 4-0 in MMA she’s a complete beast.”
A cross-promotion with the UFC remains unlikely. But in 2019, big promotions Rizin and Bellator co-promoted a show together and Chatri made it clear that he is open to the concept.
“I would definitely like to see the best of the east vs the best of the west,” Chatri said. “UFC vs ONE Championship I think would be phenomenal. I think the whole entire world would watch it and I’d love to see world champions vs world champions so definitely, for sure, I’m open to it.”