In May, ONE Championship CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong answered one of his most frequently asked questions by saying he would welcome a ONE vs UFC mega event.
ONE vs UFC Co-Promotion Comments
The prospect of finding out who the best athletes in the world are was a building block for the sport, and the talks of a co-promotion between the two martial arts organizations harken back to those simpler times.
And it is not just ONE’s frontman who feels this way. The World Champions of Asia’s largest sports media property also share the same opinions.
Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee told the International Business Times, “There are great fighters in ONE Championship and the UFC. I do not feel that there is a divide between the two organizations. However, if you take the top athletes from each organization, I see ONE athletes coming out on top.”
“I think that a ONE vs UFC co-promotion would be a historic event, and I’m confident that the ONE champions will line up very well with the UFC champions.”
American Thanh Le, the newly minted ONE Featherweight World Champion, also made his thoughts known on the subject.
“It’s so interesting to me, and I think it’s so motivating that there are these kings and all these other promotions, and they’re just sitting at the top defending their belts. Why can’t we all fight each other? Why not? I think that would be the biggest and baddest event to ever exist — ever,” Le told MMASucka.
“And it’s interesting to see how, you know, you’ve got like, what Eddie [Alvarez]‘s like 1-3, I think Sage [Northcutt] is 0-1, Mighty Mouse [Demetrious Johnson] ended up losing the title fight by KO. I mean, that should speak for itself.”
The clash between East vs. West provides a fantastic storyline between the two promotions, and the divide between the two is one reason Le sees an opportunity to show the world who the best truly is in the sport of mixed martial arts.
“They do a really good job of marketing it. Yeah, it’s just big names, big charismatic people on the screen, and that’s what we’re flooded with on the side of things,” says Le.
“But flip to the other side of the coin. You go to Asia, and it’s nothing but ONE Championship everywhere. You know, I can’t walk through the shopping mall, you know what I mean? I’m appreciative, don’t get it twisted, but it’s crazy to see how over there ONE Championship is the MMA organization. Like there is no question. You’re in ONE Championship, and you’re one of the best dudes on the planet.”
Could ONE vs UFC ever happen?
The two ONE stars also didn’t shy away from talking about their counterparts in the UFC.
For Lee, Charles Oliveira currently holds the gold in the UFC’s lightweight division.
“The Warrior” told the IB Times, “Charles Oliveira is a very complete mixed martial artist with not many holes in his game. However, I feel that I am a better fighter, and if we were to fight, I would come out on top.”
On the featherweight side of the board, the New Orleans resident is excited about a potential clash with Alexander Volkanovski.
“He’s a dog in the cage. He’s a tough, tough man. Smart. He’s got a good team behind him. And I’ve mentioned before; I think his strategies match his anatomy,” says Le.
The ONE Featherweight World Champion even offered a breakdown of what he would expect in the potential superfight between ONE vs UFC.
Le says, “I see some holes in Volkanovski’s game as far as his attack style, and the way he leaves his, his midline open, and the way he presents his face when he comes in and brings the heat.”
“I just think, with my footwork, my movement, and the amount of power and length that I bring to the division paired with my kicks is just going to be too much for him to get past in order to touch my face.”
“I only need a couple shots to put you down. I’m not a volume striker, so if he lets me make some contact one or two times, I think it’s going to be a short fight.”
There is no doubt that the potential co-promotion between the UFC and ONE would yield some incredible matchups. And, for fans, it would help bring it back to the early days of the sport when there was an emphasis on finding out who the best truly is in mixed martial arts.
While a co-promotion may seem unlikely, everyone should have learned to never say never in this sport.
The ONE World Champions, along with its CEO, are vocal about their willingness to put it all on the line in an epic challenge. The confidence exudes from their statements, and now it’s up to the UFC to call their shot.