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

Less than a month ago, atomweight world champion defended her title for the second time with another dominant display against a highly game challenger, Istela Nunes.

The Brazilian was unbeaten heading into the cage, but Lee made light work of her, taking her down to the mat in both rounds and using her superior jiu-jitsu to overwhelm her. With the result seemingly never in doubt, the finish came after two minutes and 17-seconds of the second round when Lee pulled off a slick anaconda choke to seal the deal.

With Lee’s win over Nunes extending her unbeaten record to 8-0, the question will now be asked, what’s next for the champion?

ONE Championship owner, Chatri Sityodtong, has spoken of a cross-promotion fight between Lee and UFC strawweight champion , but that’s a dream likely to never develop past the news headlines.

Who are the realistic contenders?

Outside of ONE signing new talent for an immediate title shot, all signs points towards an all Singaporean showdown between Lee and , who also won at ONE: Dynasty of Heroes.

Teo has won three on the bounce since signing for ONE Championship in 2016 and has an undefeated record of 6-0. Her latest victory over Rebecca Heintzman showed she’d made improvements in her standup and she was unlucky not to finish the American with an armbar in the third round. Lee would prove to be a big step up in class for Teo, but with the confidence of six wins in a row, now could be the time to give her a shot at Lee for the title.

If ONE is looking for a more experienced challenger, they could look in the direction of 35-year-old . The Brazilian has won two on the bounce in ONE with wins over Mona Samir and Irina Mazepa since joining the promotion last November. Nicolini might not carry the interest of an all-Singapore showdown, but she has an impressive jiu-jitsu background with eight BJJ black belt world championships to her name already. Nicollini would certainly bring a lot of interest from the grappling community and it would be interested to put Lee's ground game skills to the biggest test.

Should the promotion want a little more name value attached to Lee’s next challenger, Malaysia’s could be the woman they turn to. Before Lee came on the scene, Osman was the biggest female name fighting under the ONE banner and helped them launch the division back in 2013. Osman has struggled to establish momentum and record back-to-back victories, but she’s looked competitive in all her fights so far and has two wins out of her last three fights since July 2016.

Who do you think Lee should fight? Let us know @ChampionsFight


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