Coming into its tenth year, ONE Championship has emerged as a powerhouse in the fight business. Despite its humble beginnings, ONE has achieved fame just by its simple pursuit of finding the best martial artists in the world.
Showcasing fights across four different sports and acquiring fighters from all parts of the globe, ONE has reached a unique spot in the industry. After many different changes in structure and roster, ONE Championship separated itself from the pack by being different in almost every way.
What has always remained the same, however, are the caliber of fighters and the quality of fights the league showcases at every show. Just recently, ONE Championship cemented itself as a force in combat sports when former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson was knocked out inside the ONE Circle.
This goes to show that ONE Championship fighters, most notably its champions, are warriors not to be trifled with. One cannot simply enter the Singapore-based promotion and expect an easy ride. ONE champions are some of the very best the sport has to offer and we are here to list 5 of the best in the organization's history.
#5. ONE Championship strawweight champion Joshua Pacio (2 time champion, 1611 days, 3 title defenses)
Boasting the power of a water buffalo and the gas tank of an 18-wheeler truck, Joshua 'The Passion' Pacio is a force of nature. Pacio is a product of legendary stable Lakay Wushu, which will showcase its talents on December 17 at ONE: Winter Warriors II.
Hailing from the high-altitude region of Benguet, Philippines, Pacio is feared for his break-neck pace, word-class striking and unbreakable cardio. 'The Passion' has become a dominant force in ONE's 125-pound division, defending his title in thrilling fashion each time.
His intense rivalries with Yoshitaka Naito and Yosuke Saruta, all of which Pacio won, show how the Filipino champion can bounce back from adversity. Sitting firmly atop his division, 'The Passion' looks to keep the throne until he retires.
#4. ONE Championship flyweight champion Adriano Moraes (3-time champion, 1766 days, 3 title defenses)
ONE Championship flyweight king Adriano 'Mikinho' Moraes is riding the proverbial rocketship to stardom after achieving the impossible by knocking out MMA GOAT-contender Demetrious Johnson.
Finally entering the mainstream consciousness, 'Mikinho' grinded his way through ONE's 135-pound division for nearly a decade. Despite losing three times in his career, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace has never truly been man-handled in the cage. All of his losses came by way of razor-close split decisions.
Moraes utilizes a bruising and constricting grappling style, then complements it with his surprisingly innate power. The American Top Team standout has evolved from being a grappling-based fighter to an all-around killer. The Brazilian has become a serious threat on all fronts and it is hard to solve his increasingly puzzling MMA game.
3. ONE Championship atomweight champion Angela Lee (1-time champion, 2002 days, 4 title defenses)
ONE Championship atomweight queen Angela 'Unstoppable' Lee is the perfect combination of skill, marketability and consistent results. Her rise to stardom is akin to the legendary run of MMA icon Ronda Rousey in the UFC. 'Unstoppable' has gotten so big that she gets featured in award-winning documentary series like 'Anatomy of a Fighter':
Among Lee's accolades is that she is the youngest person ever to win a major MMA world title. Often considered the best female fighter outside of the UFC, Lee more than lived up to her potential by utterly dominating her weight class. Her intense rivalry with ONE Championship strawweight queen 'The Panda Bear' Xiong Jing Nan is MMA in its highest, most sophisticated form.
With a huge background in pankration and a blackbelt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Lee's grappling has become her winning formula. Her scramble-heavy style of grappling is dizzying to watch as she finds her openings amidst chaotic exchanges. Once Lee gets a hold of her opponent, however, they're in a world of trouble.
Fighting her entire career thus far in ONE Championship, Angela Lee has ammassed a 10-2 record and is undefeated at atomweight. Something tells us that she will stay that way for a very long time.
#2. ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight champion Aung La Nsang (2 championship reigns, 1218 days, 4 title defenses)
Former ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight kingpin Aung La Nsang is treated as a national hero in his home country of Myanmar. Holding perhaps the most intimidatingly apt nickname in MMA history, 'The Burmese Python' won championships in weight classes 20 pounds apart. That's a rarity in and of itself.
Winning ONE's 205 lbs and 225 lbs titles, Aung La is only the 2nd person to achieve double-champ status in the organization. Barreling through his competition with fights that were as violent as they were awe-inspiring, Aung La's domination couldn't be overstated.
Not only was he a nightmare inside the cage, 'The Burmese Python' was also a role model to the people. Aung La's fighting spirit brought him above the pack as he harnessed the support of an entire nation in every fight.
1. ONE Championship bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes (2-times champion, 2786 days, 7 title defenses)
When you talk about domination, look no further than ONE Championship bantamweight king Bibiano 'The Flash' Fernandes. This frightening Brazilian, who looks like he's made of concrete boulders stacked together then wrapped in skin, is a problem not easily solved.
Fernandes has the resume to prove that he can soundly beat any fighter in his division anywhere, any organization. His record 7 title defenses only speak to the technical mastery and combat genius of Fernandes.
Even the aforementioned MMA GOAT Demetrious Johnson has admitted that he can never stop Fernandes' pressure-passing technique in training. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this bantamweight's greatness.
Tangling on the ground with former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Fernandes is a recipe for disaster. It's like swimming in a raging ocean; you can struggle all you want, but you'll drown eventually. When it comes to striking, the bantamweight king has developed knockout power that has to be taken seriously.
Simply put, the ONE Championship pound-for-pound king has no glaring weaknesses and will be atop his division for a very, very long time.