Are you wondering who the best ONE Championship fighters in MMA are?
In this article, we’ll look at the 8 best ONE Championship fighters in MMA by going through their achievements in ONE and elsewhere, as well as what makes them such good fighters.
- 8 Best ONE Championship Fighters in MMA
- The Bottom Line
8 Best ONE Championship Fighters in MMA
ONE Championship was founded in July 2011 and is soon approaching its 12th year anniversary. In a little more than a decade, ONE Championship has become one of the biggest MMA and combat sports promotions globally, and its hugely talented roster of fighters is the major reason why.
So, in alphabetical order, here are the 8 best ONE Championship fighters (MMA) in the promotion’s first 12 years, and also for many years to come.
Adriano Moraes – “Black Diamond” (20-5)
Height: 5’8” | Reach: 69” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Flyweight
Adriano Moraes is a dynamic, entertaining, and extremely dangerous fighter. He’s a three-time ONE flyweight champion and is considered a submission specialist. His martial arts journey started at the age of 7, first learning judo and later picking up capoeira followed by Bjj – where he’s now a black belt.
Making Adriano Moraes one of the best ONE Championship fighters is the following.
- Dynamic and unpredictable striking from various angles, with unconventional timing, and pure explosiveness – he commonly uses spinning elbows, flying knees, and unorthodox techniques
- Athleticism combined with speed of striking and great transitions between striking and grappling
- Exceptionally well-rounded – his striking and Bjj are elite level (never lost via submission) and his wrestling is also high-level
- Aggressive forward pressure fighter with finishing instincts – in 20 wins he has 10 submissions and 4 knockouts
- Understands how to use his height and reach advantage to control the distance
He’s beaten great opposition such as Tilek Batyrov, Demetrious Johnson, and Geje Eustaquio twice, and he also has 4 successful title defenses. With only 3 losses via split decision and a revenge knockout loss to Demetrious Johnson, Adriano Moraes is right up there as one of the best in the world.
Anatoly Malykhin – “Sladkiy” (12-0)
Height: 5’11” | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Heavyweight/Light Heavyweight
In a short career at the top flight, Anatoly Malykhin has proven himself as a Russian beast who’s a threat to any MMA heavyweight in the world. Before MMA, he was a bronze medalist at the Russian Wrestling Championships and a European champion grappler.
He then became an amateur MMA champion and he’s now a ONE double champ (February 2023), holding the interim light heavyweight and undisputed heavyweight titles.
Anatoly Malykhin is one of the best ONE Championship fighters for the following reasons.
- Knockout power in his strikes (especially boxing) and submission prowess once he has fighters hurt – Malykhin has a 100% finish rate in 12 MMA fights
- Hard body shots to slow down his opponents and open them to headshots
- Intense forward pressure combined with composure, fearless aggression, and an ability to pick technical power shots
- Dominant, strong, and explosive wrestling in the clinch (great head pressure), with takedowns, takedown defense, and on the ground – his confidence in his wrestling allows him to close the distance and hunt for finishes
Fighting in ONE Championship since 2021, Anatoly Malykhin has already beaten the likes of Alexandre Machado, Amir Aliakbari, Kirill Grishenko, and Reinier de Ridder.
Overall, Malykhin is an absolute powerhouse and already easily one of the most entertaining and best ONE championship fighters. He’s dominating top-level opponents like they don’t deserve to be in the ring with him, and he’ll likely secure many title defenses at both heavyweight and light heavyweight.
Angela Lee – “Unstoppable” (12-3)
Height: 5’4” | Reach: 67” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Atomweight
Angela Lee is an American-Canadian and the current ONE atomweight champion. She won the atomweight title in 2016 by beating Mei Yamaguchi to become the youngest MMA title winner at the age of 19, and she holds black belts in Bjj and taekwondo.
Angela has successfully defended her atomweight title 5 times but has lost twice at strawweight against Jingnan Xiong when attempting to become ONE double champ.
Angela Lee is the atomweight queen for the following reasons.
- Relentless passes and submission attacks until she wins – 8 submission wins out of 11, 1 of which was a twister
- Ridiculously overpowered grappling which allows her to take her opponents to the ground whenever she wants – and keep them there
- Bjj knowledge and ability to transition to the next position to stay one step ahead of her opponents is unparalleled
- Amazing composure and mental toughness – having bouts of illness and time off after a car crash, her mental fortitude translates into the cage
- Great forward pressure and striking volume which she uses to get up close and initiate grappling
- Great durability and an ability to survive when hurt due to her insistent chain wrestling
So far she’s beaten notable names like Stamp Fairtex, Jingnan Xiong, and Mei Yamaguchi twice.
It’s crazy to think that after the success she’s had, Angela Lee is only 26 years old and still has room to develop and improve as a fighter – particularly in the striking department. For this reason, she’s likely to go down as one of the best-ever ONE Championship and female MMA fighters.
Christian Lee – “The Warrior Lee” (17-4)
Height: 5’10” | Reach: 76” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Lightweight/Welterweight
Christian Lee is the brother of Angela Lee, and is one of the longest-serving ONE championship fighters, having joined in 2015 at the age of 17 and spending his 21-fight MMA career there.
He’s the current ONE welterweight and two-time lightweight champion, and the 2019 ONE lightweight grand prix champion. Christian Lee became the youngest-ever male MMA champion at 21 years old (2019) and has since racked up two successful lightweight title defenses.
Christian Lee was trained at a young age by his parents who hold multiple black belts. He now trains at Evolve MMA in Singapore, has a black belt in Bjj and Total Defense System, and is one of the most successful ONE Championship fighters for the following reasons.
- Electrifying finisher with 12 knockouts and 4 submissions in 17 wins, a 94% finish rate
- Immense grappling in terms of takedowns and takedown defense
- Great left hook power, technique, and timing
- Perfect technique on the roundhouse head kicks
- Blitzing combinations and knees to the head of an opponent on the ground – times both well when he has an opponent hurt
Despite being only 24 years old with a lot of time for growth, Christian Lee is the ONE record holder for most wins (17) and most finishes (16) and has beaten Rae Yoon Ok, Kiamrian Abbasov, Iuri Lapicus, Shinya Aoki, and Saygid Arslanaliev.
His development continues year-on-year and is evident when looking at his loss against Rae Yoon Ok, and how in the rematch he dominated and dispatched him early in round two.
Demetrious Johnson – “Mighty Mouse” (32-4-1)
Height: 5’3” | Reach: 66” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Flyweight (UFC/Bantamweight ONE)
Demetrious Johnson is by far the best ONE Championship MMA fighter, having been the best-ever UFC flyweight with 11 consecutive title defenses and the second-longest title reign in UFC history (2142 days).
So far in ONE Championship, Demetrious Johnson has a record of 5-1 where he’s the current ONE Championship flyweight champion and ONE flyweight grand prix champion. Demetrious Johnson is an elite MMA fighter for the following reasons.
- Extremely well-rounded to the point of having no weakness
- Switches stances mid-round to adjust tactically to his opponent
- Nimble footwork and elusive movement
- Speedy and technical striking when countering on the back foot and when pressing forward
- Dominant wrestling – most takedowns in UFC flyweight history
- Exceptional composure in big fights – won 13/15 title fights (UFC/ONE)
In a mixed ruleset fight, he’s also beaten Rodtang Jitmuangnon, regarded as the best pound-for-pound Muay Thai fighter. On top of that, Johnson has beaten the likes of Adrian Moraes, Henry Cejudo, Kyoji Horiguchi, and Joseph Benavidez twice.
Nong Stamp – “Stamp Fairtex” (10-2)
Height: 5’1” | Reach: 61” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Atomweight
More commonly known as Stamp Fairtex, she was the first ONE two-sport champ, holding the ONE atomweight kickboxing and ONE atomweight muay Thai titles. She also won the 2021 ONE atomweight grand prix MMA tournament.
Her martial arts journey began aged 5, when her father, a muay Thai fighter, started training her so she could defend herself against her bullies. She went on to become a two-division muay Thai champion with over 80 fights before starting Bjj at the age of 18 – where she’s currently a purple belt.
She then made her ONE debut at 19 years old and has been widely successful as a muay Thai, kickboxer, and now MMA fighter.
- Insane endurance and stamina – Stamp never gets tired in a fight
- Powerful legs which deliver her striking power and strong takedown defense
- Elite muay Thai striking technique and precision with punches, kicks, knees, and elbows – especially step-in elbows and on the ground
- Fights with great composure and focus
Although she lost to Angela Lee, Stamp was exceptionally close to a round 1 finish via a liver shot, and the pair will likely rematch in the future.
Primarily a muay Thai and kickboxer, with a couple more years of wrestling and Bjj progression to become more well-rounded, Stamp will surely become a future MMA champion.
Reinier de Ridder – “The Dutch Knight” (16-1)
Height: 6’3” | Reach: 79” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Middleweight/Light Heavyweight
After joining ONE Championship with a 9-0 MMA record, Reinier de Ridder tore through the promotion to become the ONE middleweight (current) and light heavyweight champion (former).
At the age of 5, de Ridder started his martial arts journey with judo followed by Bjj. He’s now a black belt in both and this can be seen in his MMA fighting style. Making Reinier de Ridder so good is:
- Great stance switches mid-round to adjust to how his opponent is fighting
- Elite ground grappling and submission skills – in 17 fights he has 3 knockouts, 11 submissions, and 2 decision victories
- Long limbs allow him to attack and secure submissions others can’t reach – such as his inverted triangle choke against Bigdash
- Heavy top control and high fight IQ mean he stays 1 step ahead of his opponents at all times – especially with ground positioning
- Great single-leg takedowns and judo body locks and trips/throws
De Ridder has beaten Gilberto Galvao, Fan Rong, Kiamrian Abbasov, Vitaly Bigdash, and the former two-weight ONE champion Aung La Nsang twice to secure both belts.
While he did recently lose the light heavyweight title to Malykhin, it wasn’t a surprise as he’s a natural middleweight and Malykhin’s a natural heavyweight who had the strength to prevent de Ridder’s takedown. Currently training with Sanford MMA, Reinier de Ridder still has room to develop his striking.
Tang Kai (15-2)
Height: 5’10” | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Featherweight
Tang Kai is the first-ever male Chinese MMA champion and is well on his way to becoming one of the best Asian MMA fighters. Undefeated in his first 7 ONE Championship fights, Tang Kai is the current ONE featherweight champion.
Tang Kai started his martial arts journey at a late stage, beginning with wrestling while at university and shortly after picking up boxing, muay Thai, and Bjj.
With only 1 year of training, Tang Kai made his professional MMA debut in 2016 and has amassed a 15-2 record. His back-to-back losses can be partly explained by his inexperience, but he’s gone from strength to strength and is progressing at a rapid pace.
Tang Kai is already one of the best ONE Championship fighters for the following reasons.
- Perfect striking technique full of power and speed – especially with jabs and crosses
- Exquisite counter-puncher with great patience, intelligence, and timing to pick his shots – 12/15 wins by knockout
- Great dancing lateral movement due to bouncing footwork and amazing cardiovascular endurance
- Elusiveness with quick head movement, rolling punches, reactions, vision and great frame defense
- 100% takedown defense in ONE Championship through 7 fights – allows him to keep the fighting standing where he wants to be
- Very tall and strong for the featherweight division (5’10”) and uses this to control range and pick people off
- Powerful roundhouse kicks with zero telegraph – especially when southpaw – as well as strong snapping calf kicks
Although early, it’s easy to see Tang Kai is an exceptional striker, and at 27 years old he’s definitely one for the future. He’s already beaten Chang Min Yoon and Edward Kelly and given former champion Thanh Lee his first loss in ONE.
The Bottom Line
This has been the 8 best ONE Championship fighters in MMA. Most of them have already achieved a lot, and most are also very young and likely to achieve a lot more in the near future – particularly Stamp, Tang, and Christian Lee.