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Meet Adrian Lee: Angela and Christian Lee's brother looks to carve his own name in MMA

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Adrian Lee, the youngest sibling of MMA stars Angela and Christian Lee, is set to make his professional debut with ONE Championship next week.

Lee will face fellow newcomer Antonio Mammarella at ONE 167 at Bangkok's Impact Arena on June 7. Ahead of his big fight, the 18-year-old spoke with NextShark to share insights into his journey, family influences and aspirations in the sport.

How he got started

Lee, of O'ahu, Hawaii, has been immersed in the world of MMA from a young age. Born into a family of accomplished fighters, his journey into the sport was almost predestined.

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"I was kind of born into MMA," says Lee, who just turned 18 in March and graduated from high school in May. "My siblings and my parents have always been training and teaching MMA ever since I learned how to walk. I’ve always been on the mats."

The influence of his family, particularly of Angela and Christian, has been pivotal in shaping his career. Angela was ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion until her retirement last September, while Christian currently holds the ONE Welterweight and Lightweight MMA World titles.

"Growing up in the family that I’ve grown up in which my siblings had already succeeded to the top in ONE Championship has been great because I’ve been able to follow in their footsteps and I can see what it takes to get to the top," says Lee, a four-time National Youth MMA Champion. Winning his first national and world titles solidified his decision to pursue MMA professionally.

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Training and preparation

As Lee prepares for his debut at ONE 167, his training regimen is intense and thorough. His brother Christian serves as his head coach.

"My brother has been with me since day one," Lee tells NextShark. "He’s now currently my head coach and he’s training me day in and day out. He’s getting me more than prepared for this fight."

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Lee's daily routine consists of two sessions, ranging from two to four hours each. Despite the high stakes of his debut, his training approach remains holistic.

"We’re training MMA as a whole as always," he says.

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On handling pressure

Entering the professional MMA arena brings its own set of challenges, and Lee is no stranger to pressure. "I definitely feel the pressure going into this fight and every fight moving forward," he admits. "However, I trust my training and I know that it’ll have me more than prepared to deal with the pressures."

So far, the toughest aspects of his journey have been training camps and media interviews. Fortunately, the experience and guidance of his family have been invaluable in navigating these challenges.

"I think the most challenging aspect of my whole journey and my MMA career always has to be the fight camp," he shares. "The training is the hardest part of the fight, and also with media and everything is all new, so I think just dealing with that has been the hardest part."

"I’ve been able to adjust quite well because my siblings and my parents have done a great job at preparing me for these interviews and I’ve already seen them go through all of this already, so I know what to expect."

Goals for the future

Lee has high ambitions moving forward. His immediate focus is to defeat fellow ONE newcomer Antonio Mammarella, 24, whom he describes as "a pretty well-rounded fighter with decent striking and grappling."

Beyond this, his aspirations include becoming the ONE Lightweight World Champion and eventually a two-time champion. "After that, I’d like to become the greatest combat athlete," he says.

Lee also maintains a clear vision for his future. He plans to stick with MMA for the next few years, though he is open to exploring other martial arts once he has achieved his goals.

"If you tune in to my fight, it’s going to be an exciting one and be sure to tune in to my future fights and keep an eye on me," he tells his supporters.

To those aspiring to enter the world of MMA, Lee's advice is straightforward: "Stay focused and stay in the gym. As long as you stay determined and have a hard work ethic, you’ll be able to make it eventually."

And as for Mammarella, he leaves a simple message: "Watch out. It’s going to be fast."

ONE 167, headlined by a highly anticipated Muay Thai rematch between Thai fighters Tawanchai PK Saenchai and Jo Nattawut, streams live on Prime Video on June 7, 8 p.m. ET.

 

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