ByJim Edwards, writer at Creators.co
MMA story chaser from the UK
Jim Edwards

It's been eight months in the making, but featherweight will be returning to action on April 21 in Manila.

Lee was last seen at ONE: Heroes of the World when he was defeated for the first time in his young career by Martin Nguyen. Since then, Lee has been training hard and awaiting his time to step foot inside the cage again.

Speaking exclusively to Champions.co earlier this week, Lee said he couldn't wait to make his return.

"It's been eight months since I last fought and the whole time I just couldn't stop thinking about just getting back in there," Lee said. "It's been non-stop training for me and I'm hoping to show all the improvements that I've made since then."

Lee was expected to face Keanu Subba on April 21, but in the last few days, he there have been some developments that he wasn't expecting.

"I found out about two days ago that my scheduled opponent, Keanu Subba, had pulled out from the fight with an injury," Lee said. "They found a last minute replacement for me. He's a guy from China and hiss name is Wan Jian Ping. He's a little bit shorter and he's fought in ONE before. His record shows he's 2-1, because he's a Sambo champion in China, so I know he's got a lot of experience. I'm not taking him lightly at all. I'm perfectly fine with it. A fight is a fight and we train for all opponents--it's not going to make a big difference."

Having experienced the taste of defeat for the first time in his career last year, Lee feels that he's learned a lot from the loss and that he has become a better fighter because of it. Lee said he's hoping to show everyone on April 21 that he's a totally new man.

"I learned so much from going through that fight," Lee said. "Since that fight in August, I feel like I've matured a lot as a fighter. It was good for my experience and I know that I will come out feeling a lot more focused and composed for this fight. I will be more calculated and not over-aggressive. I feel like, especially in that last fight, I went hunting for a knockout. I tried to finish him too soon and you can never force a knockout. I know I have to be more patient now, pick him apart and let the knockout come to me."

Having had a full eight months to make improvements, Lee has trained with a variety of training partners including a man who challenge for a UFC title in June.

"My Dad is my head coach and I work with him every day," Lee said. "For this camp, I had some great training partners. Normally, I just do rounds with him, but this time around, I've brought Michael Fowler do be with me during the training camp. I've also been working a little with Max [Holloway] and Yancy [Medeiros], who are both UFC fighters. Mostly, it just goes from session to session, but yeah I've been training with a lot of different people."

While they have only trained together a couple of times, Lee said he's been able to draw a lot from watching his fellow Hawaiian, Holloway, have his own success at the highest level.

"I wouldn't say me and Max know each other too well yet--we've only met up twice, so far," Lee said. "We definitely see eye-to-eye though and he's a real great guy. He's focused and a really, really hard worker. I'm happy to see his hard work pay off now and to see him fight for that belt now. Seeing guys like Max succeed, a guy from Hawaii, it's inspirational for the rest of us because it goes to prove that giving it your all does payoff."

With his sister, Angela, fast becoming a global superstar, Christian, for the moment, says he's happy to let her be the center of the media attention. The younger of two siblings is well aware, though, that should his star continue to rise on the trajectory that it is, he will also be required to handle the mass media at some stage.

"For me, I'm in no rush to be a superstar," Lee said. "I'm so super happy for Angela and it's her time right now to be in the limelight. For me, personally, it's something I really crave, I just want to keep training, keep fighting, and keep proving to everyone that I'm going to be the best in the world. I'm happy for my sister that she's in the spotlight , I'm not so sure I can be as charismatic as my sister--she's amazing at all that. When the day comes though, I'll be more than happy to accept it all."

Looking ahead to his fight with Jian Ping, Lee reiterated he's not underestimating him. That said, the ONE featherweight is hoping that he will get a quick win and that he can keep busy for the rest of the year.

"I'm not overlooking Jian Ping, but I'm confident I'm going to go out there and pick him apart and finish him," Lee said. "If all goes well, then I want three or four more fights this year. If it all goes well, then I'll ask for another fight as soon as possible, and ask them to get me back in there as quickly as they can. I'm going to show everyone I'm back and that I'm better than ever."

Lee will be fighting on the undercard of ONE: Kings of Destiny, which will be headlined by Eduard Folayang and Ev Ting battling it out for the ONE lightweight title on April 21. The fight will be streamed live for US audience on FloCombat.

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