ONE Championship has some real talent to watch.
ONE Championship shouldn’t be dismissed. If you’re a new fan of MMA or just watch the UFC, you’re missing out on some of the best talents in the world. ONE Championship has some of the most interesting and most talented fighters in the world.
That shouldn’t be surprising, as no one promotion has a complete monopoly on talent.
Though when looking at ONE Championship and their top guys, the matchup problems they could cause for other top guys in other promotions is intriguing. They’re among some of the most dangerous in one facet of the game or another, and just because some of them haven’t faced a who’s who of name-brand talent, doesn’t mean they’re not facing some real tough outs.
So here are three of the best in ONE Championship.
Even if Henry Cejudo hadn’t retired, the case that Adriano Moraes is the best flyweight in the world has already been made and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Moraes has won the ONE Championship flyweight championship on three separate occasions, defeating Geje Eustaquio (twice) and Tilek Batyrov to win the belt.
His unique blend of speed, strength, and size at flyweight has made him a hard matchup. It certainly was part of the problem that former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson ran into with their fight in 2021. Johnson was a severe mismatch against Moraes and Moraes used his size to back up Johnson, ultimately kissing Johnson good night with a knee to the face.
So when you think about Moraes against the other flyweight in the world, Deiveson Figueiredo, it’s hard not say that Moraes wouldn’t be the favorite. He’s bigger, stronger, and just as good of a grappler than anyone in the weight class.
You’d have an argument that his sister Angela Lee should be on this list. That’s fair, but she’s on a long layoff due to her pregnancy and if MMA has proven anything, is that fighters don’t always handle long layoffs too well. It also doesn’t handle bloody and violent events like pregnancy in a predictable manner, so she’s got to come back and prove she’s still the same fighter.
Her brother Christian, on the other hand, has stepped up strong in her absence. Like his sister, Christian is a champion of ONE Championship and a young one at that. The duo won their gold young, with Christian and his sister Angela both winning their championships at 19 years old.
Christian in the ONE Championship lightweight division, Angela in the women’s atomweight division.
With Angela out since the end of 2019, it’s on Christian and younger sister Victoria to uphold the Lee name in the interim. For the Lees, that’s not a bad thing. Christian has proven to be a very dynamic and mobile fighter, using his quickness and shocking strength to able to put his opponents on their heels.
His victory and claim on the ONE Championship lightweight title came over an MMA legend in Shinya Aoki.
He’s 15-3 in his career, all in ONE Championship, and all but one has been either by KO/TKO or submission. Lee would do well in any company and if that chance for him to do so ever presents itself to him, expect him to make the most of it.
Reinier de Ridder
Reinier de Ridder wants to be the first man in a major MMA promotion to fight for and win three separate weight class championships. To do so, he’ll have to face the first-ever Indian world champion in Arjan Bhullar. Bhullar is the reigning ONE Championship heavyweight king, and de Ridder made it absolutely clear that he wanted to win that title next.
When he called his shot, it wasn’t Bhullar who was champion, but Brandon Vera, a fight that would’ve been huge for ONE Championship due to Vera’s legacy in both ONE Championship and the UFC.
de Ridder isn’t just a gold chaser, however. He’s a legit threat for anyone to mess with. The man they call the Dutch Knight is 14-0 in his MMA career with nine submissions and three knockouts. He’s also defeated ONE Championship’s best fighter in promotion history (arguably) in Aung La NSang
It’s no denying how good he is, and if were to face off with the best in Bellator or the UFC at any weight class, there would be violence.