On 21 April, Christian Lee returns to the field of battle at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. This time the Singaporean prospect brings with him something he didn’t want, but may ultimately be thankful for – a defeat.
More than just a blemish on his otherwise perfect record, that defeat is a lesson learned, and a catalyst for change that he expects will actually help him on his quest for the top.
When he enters the cage at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, for the first time he will do so with a loss on his resume.
It would be in vain if he didn’t use it to make positive changes, so he has applied the ‘losing is learning’ mentality to his loss at the hands of Martin Nguyen in Macau’s ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD last August.
“I absolutely believe I had everything it takes to beat Martin that night, but the thing is I was just off my game. I was off-focus, and it shows,“ he revealed.
Lee attributes several factors to what he believes was a sub-par performance. Top of the list is a torturous schedule that saw him consistently in fight camp for almost a year, with his first six professional fights all taking place within a nine-month period.
MMA isn’t a sport that just takes its toll physically, it is also extremely demanding mentally, and to stay in the right frame of mind for such a sustained period — especially when you’re a young fighter new to the professional ranks — is almost impossible. It only takes a momentary slip and you’re looking up at the ceiling lights, wondering what happened.
“I did not even realize it at the time, but looking back, I see how that affected me on the night of that fight,” he revealed.
“The Warrior” allowed himself a much needed break, recharging the batteries and calming the mind with time out from the stress of fight preparation; staying amongst the sport day-to-day, but without the hefty physiological and psychological workload.
Now, eight months down the line, he is in a good place to resume his charge to the top, having learned his lessons and maturing as a competitor. The exuberance of youth comes with positives and negatives, but harnessing it in, “controlled aggression, rather than just a blind aggression,” as Lee puts it, is key.
“I have been working on controlling my emotions in the heat of the moment,” Lee added, believing that more patience would certainly be a virtue.
As he prepares to take on fellow prospect Keanu Subba in the Philippines, the young Lee is harnessing the prior defeat for learning potential. It’s not something he wants to taste again, so expect the same excitement with a little bit more maturity on 21 April when he returns to the fray.
Only the right performance can show whether or not it was a blessing in disguise.