If it were up to One Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, there would be some superfights once MMA gets back on track.
On Thursday evening, Sityodtong held a Facebook Live Q&A session answering questions from fans. Over the course of around 40 minutes, he was posed questions about free agents as well as his version of “The Apprentice.” However, the question that brought the most significant response was one about co-promotion, along with the dream matchups he would put together if he could.
To do so, he acknowledged that the Ultimate Fighting Championship would likely balk at such a request. This did not discourage him, as he said, “I would definitely like to see the best of the East vs the best of the West. 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.”
Sityodtong bolstered his interest in potential cross-promotion events by citing the successes of Bellator MMA and Rizin Fighting Federation putting on two events at the end of 2019. Bellator Japan saw multiple Rizin fighters take on their Bellator counterparts, and Rizin 20 featured more organization vs. organization tilts.
His confidence in his athletes was at an all-time high when further elucidating his interest in cross-promotional battles. If he could make any fight in women’s mixed martial arts, he would match One champ Jingnan Xiong against UFC champ Weili Zhang. His belief is that this particular battle would be the “biggest fight in the history of Asian MMA and a landmark moment for the sport’s growth in China.” He also added, “I think Jingnan is the one to beat Weili Zhang.”
Xiong was not the only fighter to come to mind when he discussed potential crossover bouts, as he also raised the name of the only woman to beat Xiong in nearly five years: Angela Lee. Lee controversially finished Xiong at One Championship Century - Part 1 in October in a thriller after utilizing an illegal suplex. Once Lee landed the banned slam, she secured top position and snatched up a rear-naked choke. To the One CEO, “Unstoppable” could beat any competitor placed in her path regardless of the promotion.
“I think Angela Lee vs. any Atomweight in the world. 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. Angela Lee’s an absolute warrior and she’s just a genius on the ground.”
Sityodtong concluded with one final suggestion for a dream matchup. He considers Nong Stamp, relative MMA neophyte but former One kickboxing atomweight champ and current One Muay Thai atomweight champ, as someone that could give Zhang a run for her money.
“I think Stamp Fairtex could beat Weili Zhang as well. 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.”
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