"She's been playing to not lose" - ONE Championship atomweight queen Angela Lee fires shot at Xiong Jing Nan, eyes trilogy at strawweight

ONE Championship stars Angela Lee and Xiong Jing Nan have unfinished business against each other. [Photos: @angelaleemma, @jingnanxiong on Instagram]
ONE Championship stars Angela Lee and Xiong Jing Nan have unfinished business against each other. [Photos: @angelaleemma, @jingnanxiong on Instagram]
Lucky Robinson

ONE Championship's reigning women's atomweight champion Angela Lee is once again open to fighting current strawweight queen Xiong Jing Nan for a trilogy bout.

Now that Xiong has practically cleared out her division, Lee is eyeing a comeback at strawweight to handle some unfinished business. The returning ONE Championship star had a lot to say about Xiong with the South China Morning Post in connection to her future plans:

"I tuned in to the last few fights that she's had and honestly, [I], along with the rest of the fans and I'm pretty sure I heard Chatri say it as well, [am] not too impressed with her performances. I think that you can really see that in her last few performances she's been playing to not lose instead of, you know, playing to win. There's a big difference there."

Xiong successfully defended her strawweight strap for a record sixth time at ONE: Heavy Hitters. She has, however, drawn criticism from ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong. Xiong understood his side and even expressed her own disappointment with herself.

If all goes to plan after her ONE X atomweight title fight against Stamp Fairtex, Lee is intent on giving Xiong a more difficult challenge for her seventh title defense:

"As a person who's always looking to finish the fight, I think that it'll be a very interesting matchup. She says that she took it easy on her opponent last time. I don't know what kind of excuse that is. You know, we're in the fight business. But yeah I definitely like to run that back at strawweight."

ONE Championship star Angela Lee aims for strawweight title closure against Xiong Jing Nan

If Angela Lee gets her way with Xiong Jing Nan for the strawweight title, she can seek redemption for her first career loss. The loss put a dent in her 'Unstoppable' moniker.

However, Xiong also has unfinished business of her own in the atomweight division. Lee prevailed in their second bout, this time for the atomweight belt, and handed Xiong her first loss in four years.

As Xiong said, the trilogy with Lee is inevitable, but it remains to be seen which title will be up for grabs next. In fact, there may not even be a title up for grabs by the time the trilogy fight comes.

Both women have legitimate reasons for wanting the other's belt, so this is a puzzle best left for matchmakers to figure out. Fans just have to sit back and watch the trilogy hopefully reach a satisfying end.

Edited by John Cunningham
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