Call it bad timing or downright bad luck for Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga, but the 23-year-old Filipina is making due with the hand she was dealt.
Immediately after being named the number one contender to ONE Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill, delaying her shot at a ONE World Title.
Zamboanga wants to keep active, however, and that’s exactly why she took on Watsapinya “Dream Girl” Kaewkhong at ONE: A NEW BREED in August, even if it meant risking her top contender spot.
“I know everything’s not yet normal and I know it will take a long time to face my idol, but if ONE championship gives us an opportunity again to stay active in fighting, I’m going to fight again,” Zamboanga told Michael Schiavello in an interview at ONEFC.com.
But the longer the travel restrictions last, the higher the chances of Zamboanga being cut in line.
That’s because some fans are salivating over a mixed martial arts fantasy matchup between Lee and former two-sport World Champion Stamp Fairtex.
It’s not like Stamp is undeserving. Like Zamboanga, she hasn’t yet lost in mixed martial arts. The Filipina, however, isn’t losing sleep over it.
“I wasn’t upset. I know that Stamp and Angela are champions. I understand that a lot of people want to see Stamp and Angela. They’re both champions, they’re famous, and I have only fought twice,” Zamboanga said.
“But after competing in my last fight, maybe I have proven that I have what it takes as well.”
Speaking of fantasy matchups, a clash between Zamboanga and Stamp is also an intriguing clash given that the pair aren’t training at the same gym anymore.
But because of her friendship with Stamp, it’s a match that Zamboanga hopes to avoid, unless there’s no way around it. In that case, she’ll treat it as a purely professional endeavour.
“I love Stamp. We’re very close. We trained together before. It’s going to be hard for both of us to fight against each other. I don’t want to have some sort of rivalry between us and I really want to keep that friendship,” Zamboanga said.
“Maybe in the future, if we talk about business, but right now I am focused on my World Title shot.”
Catch ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES on 9 October for free by downloading the ONE Super App.
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