For years, fight fans have dreamed about seeing champions from the top MMA promotions battle each other to find out who is truly a World Champion in every sense of the term.
If ONE Championship’s chairman Chatri Sityodtong has anything to do with it, he will turn that pipe dream into a reality. After all, he has a knack for bringing dreams to life.
Ever since launching ONE Championship with CEO Victor Cui in 2011, Sityodtong has brilliantly turned his vision into Asia’s largest sports media property, and the dominant MMA promotion in Asia with the best talent in the Eastern hemisphere.
That includes Angela Lee, the undefeated ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion. Only 20 years old, Lee has become an “Unstoppable” force, as her nickname suggests.
Making her professional debut in the premier Asian organization back in May 2015, she has compiled a perfect 7-0 record with five of those wins coming by way of submission, and her most recent victory over Jenny Huang at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM, coming by TKO.
Sityodtong would love to see his unbeaten champion prove she is the best in the world. That is why he proposes an epic marquee clash against another undefeated title holder: UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
The Polish kickboxer is flawless at 13-0, and her masterful striking matched up against Lee’s grappling finesse could make for an instant classic.
“Angela is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world in any organization. I would love to see her fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I think that would be a great fight. There is no question that Angela ranks among the best female fighters in the world,” Sityodtong told the International Business Times in the UK.
“I think what she has achieved is incredible. She deserves the attention she is getting from around the world and from other organizations. She has earned it. She is breaking records and making history.”
That clash would certainly be quite the dream match and, ideally, it could take place at either weight class where both women currently reign supreme, or a catchweight.
That is just one of many dream matches that could happen. There are plenty of tantalizing fights that could be made. For instance, UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley could go up against ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren.
Askren has been linked several times to the UFC in the past, and this would be a chance to prove once and for all that he is indeed as good as he says.
Or how about UFC Middleweight Champion Michael “The Count” Bisping coming up against undefeated ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash? That would be a technical battle of attrition between a pair of well-rounded strikers.
And, of course, that also leaves open the chance of seeing UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor standing toe-to-toe with wushu expert and ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang.
Sityodtong realizes the potential of these matchups, and as a man who gets straight to the point, is ready to talk business. As a matter of fact, his phone is ready in case UFC President Dana White wants to ring him up with a proposal.
"I would love Dana White to give me a call and say: ‘Let’s do a UFC World Champion vs. a ONE World Champion – let’s do a cross promotion.’ That is something I am very interested in. I would love to see that, and I think the world would love to see that,” Sityodtong says.
"If the numbers work, I think we would be able to do it. I am open to it from my side,” he says. “You would have to ask Dana (White) if he is open to it.”
The ball is in White and the UFC’s court now. Though the Las Vegas-based company only dabbled in cross-promotion once many years ago with Chuck Liddell competing in PRIDE’s 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament, there is a fair possibility they could explore this particular idea in the immediate future.
After all, the UFC — which was sold to WME-IMG last July for US$4 billion — has a stranglehold on the MMA scene in the Western hemisphere, and would like nothing more than to expand into the East, where ONE currently holds court.