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On Wednesday at
One Championship on TNT 2
, Christian
Lee
will attempt to become only the second man to defend the
One Championship lightweight title division
more than once.

“The Warrior” faces Timofey
Nastyukhin
in the main event of One on TNT 2, seeking to equal
the record for successful title defenses set by the man he defeated
to earn the belt, Shinya Aoki.
Having debuted in One as a teenager and conducted his entire
17-fight professional career there, Lee is indisputably the
promotion’s greatest homegrown star. In fact, with the recent
setbacks suffered by Demetrious
Johnson
, Eddie
Alvarez
and Nong Stamp,
a pretty good case could be made that the fiery 22-year-old is
One’s biggest star, period — or well on his way there, at
least.

Lightweight is perhaps the deepest and most competitive weight
class in MMA worldwide, and One Championship’s division is no
exception. The title has been defended on a fairly regular basis
since its inception over eight years ago, and there is a queue of
credible contenders churning at all times. Whoever emerges
victorious from Wednesday’s title fight will have a full dance card
for the foreseeable future, as the last several divisional champs
are all still around and in or near their prime. There is also the
question of Martin
Nguyen
, the former two-division champ who seems to have settled
back in at featherweight, but owns two wins over Lee. If Lee
remains champion for long, there is a grudge match there for the
making.

Here is the history of the One Championship lightweight title and
the times it was won, lost or defended. It tells the story of a
division that has been a powerhouse since the beginning, and now
may be poised for a lengthy rule by one of the promotion’s
anointed.

Ben
Duffy/Sherdog.com illustration


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