ONE champ Christian Lee dissects lightweight division

ONE Championship lightweight king Christian Lee recently turned 23 years old, but already he’s nearly cleared out the division. After three title defenses, Lee has beaten everyone inside the top five, except for one guy: Ok Rae Yoon.

Lee strongly suggested in a recent interview with Fight Night Picks’ John Hyon Ko that Yoon would be the next challenger for the lightweight belt.

“I saw Ok’s respectful callout. … That’s got to be the nicest callout I’ve ever seen,” Lee said. “When I make my return, I really think we could see the two of us squaring off in the cage.”

In a 20-minute interview, Lee spoke about Eddie Alvarez, the ONE lightweight division and fatherhood.

Lee and his wife recently had their first child, a daughter. That’s why Lee has taken some time off since defeating Timofey Nastyukhin by first-round ground-and-pound in April.

“I’m still training, but I’m spending a lot of time at home,” Lee said. “Spending time with my daughter and wife, it’s just a blessing.”

But Lee’s hiatus from the cage will be short-lived. He hopes to defend his title again before the end of the year.

“Maybe even get two more in before the end of the year,” he said.

The soonest time Lee would return would be in September, he said. Lee (15-3) owns wins over Nastyukhin (first-round TKO), Iuri Lapicus (first-round TKO), Saygin Guseyn Aslanaliev (decision) and Shinya Aoki (second-round TKO).

That leaves Ok Rae Yoon (15-3) as the only contender left in the top five. Yoon is coming off a decision win over Eddie Alvarez, a fighter who has petitioned for a fight with Lee on social media. That scrap with the former Bellator and UFC champion is unlikely to come soon.

“I think the fight would be good for the promotion,” Lee said of a matchup with Alvarez. “It would bring a good amount of American fans to watch ONE Championship, and that would be a big reason to make that fight.

“… But the truth is he’s got one win in ONE Championship so far. He’s technically 1-3 in the promotion. … If he can get at least one win over a guy in the top five, then we can make that fight happen. But until then, it wouldn’t work out and it wouldn’t make sense.”

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