The big week: ONE Championship’s defining moment

Amir Khan announces fight with Manny Pacquiao in Riyadh

Harry Kettle Harry Kettle

The building of a new, major mixed martial arts promotion is a process that doesn’t exactly happen overnight. It takes years of graft and hard work in order to reach that next level, and often, it doesn’t pay off. Alas, as we sit here around two and a half days away from Heart of The Lion in Singapore, it’s evident to see just how massive this whole fight week is going to be – and already has been.

We say already has been because the threat of it falling apart came to the forefront a few days back, when Angela Lee was forced to pull out of her scheduled main event fight against Xiong Jing Nan. It was a disappointing blow for what is still shaping up to be a great card, but thankfully, ONE wasn’t about to leave the fans feeling shortchanged.

Christian Lee has stepped in on short notice to fight Kazuki Tokudome in a catchweight fight, and while some will suggest that it’s a bit of a downgrade, we’d urge you to wait and see what these men will produce on Friday night.

In terms of the bigger picture, however, it seems almost obvious to suggest that all eyes will be on ONE for more reasons than just this card. Yes, Bibiano Fernandes vs Kevin Belingon is going to be an outstanding bout, but many are already looking ahead to a future – and it’s a future that involves Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.

ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong, has just posted this status:"ONE Championship will be holding a major press…

Posted by Asian Persuasion MMA on Tuesday, 6 November 2018

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again but it really does seem as if the appeal of Asian mixed martial arts is becoming stronger and stronger, with the looming presence of Sage Northcutt also indicating that it stretches beyond just veterans of the game. There will be a press conference later today that will be open and available to the fans, and from meeting the stars of the show to Chatri Sityodtong making a ‘big announcement’, speculation is running wild as to what the promotion has up their sleeve.

You could certainly make the argument that they’ve already overdelivered this year in more ways than one, but we’re not going to focus on that kind of narrative because in truth, there really is no ceiling here and there never should be. The uncertainty of this whole new era is what makes it so exciting, because you’re forced to tune in to see what happens next.