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The New Paper
16 June 2017
Singapore's Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) golden girl Angela Lee has picked up eight straight wins in the ONE Championship atomweight division, and has retained her belt twice in the space of two months.
However, Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) senior vice-president of international and content, Joe Carr, believes that Lee, who belongs to the Singapore-based ONE Championship, can't hold a candle to the best fighters in his US-based promotion.
His declaration has, however, left founder and chairman of ONE Championship Chatri Sityodtong fuming, with the Thai denouncing Carr's "Western arrogance".
At a media conference for tomorrow's UFC Fight Night: Holm vs Correia event, Carr yesterday said that a potential fight between Lee and UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk "will not end well for Lee".
Carr said: "I don't know if that really makes sense with where she is at this point of her career. But if she wants to come and sign an exclusive contract with the UFC and fight in the strawweight class, then let's see.
"She is young and talented but she is a long way from competing with the top women in the UFC and a long way from the top of the strawweight class at the UFC.
"She would have to come in and win a number of fights in that division first and prove herself."
The undefeated Jedrzejczyk, who hails from Poland, has 14 wins under her belt.
But, Chatri begged to differ about the gulf in class and challenged Carr to set up a match soon.
In a phone interview with The New Paper, Chatri said: "I am disappointed by the western arrogance displayed by the UFC, especially as guests in our home of Asia.
"The theme of foreigners coming here and bashing Asians is not a new one...
"If they really believe they are the best, then they should have no issues accepting our humble invitation of our world champions versus their world champions.
"If the UFC think that they are better, then let's do it.
"If they're so confident, then let's set up a fight between Angela and Joanna.
"I have been a martial artist for close to 30 years and I know where Angela ranks.
"Let's do it next month. All they have to do is pick up the phone and I'm ready. The proof of the pudding is in the eating."
Despite Carr's assertion that Lee is not of the same level as UFC's top fighters, he noted that Lee is young, talented, and popular.
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, who has trained with Lee before, was quick to point out that Lee is not just a "pretty face".
Said Brazilian dos Anjos, who will make his welterweight debut against Belgian Tarec Saffiedine at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tomorrow night: "I met Angela before. She is young, hungry, technical, and a beast.
"I think she is going to keep the ONE Championship belt for so long.
"She is not only a pretty face, she has a big heart. She is a real fighter."