GINA “Conviction” Iniong squaring off against ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angel “Unstoppable” Lee inside the ONE Championship cage seemed to be a far-fetched dream just a few months ago.
However, the tide has turned after Asia’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization acquired Iniong from the free agent market earlier this year.
Iniong, who has been on the promotion’s radar for several years, inked an exclusive multi-bout contract with ONE Championship, which bolstered its burgeoning roster of world-class female MMA athletes.
The 27-year-old Baguio City native is a member of the renowned Team Lakay and has a professional MMA record of 4-2. Three of her four career victories have come by thrilling finish, which includes two impressive submissions.
Team Lakay’s 5-foot-2 atomweight standout also owns notable victories over the likes of French fighter Nathalie Heidel and Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi.
In her last bout under a regional MMA promotion in January 2016, Iniong submitted Spanish combatant Vanessa Rico Fernandez with a heel lock in the first round.
Iniong will make her much-awaited promotional debut at ONE: Kings of Destiny in Manila, Philippines on April 21 as she is booked to face Filipino-English stalwart Natalie Gonzales Hills in a three-round atomweight contest.
Iniong admitted that one of her aspirations is to contend with Lee for the gold-plated strap.
“It has been considered for more than two years as a dream match-up. Now, it’s possible to happen because I am now part of the ONE Championship roster,” she said. “Of course, I want to face Angela Lee for the belt. It’s one of my main goals in this organization.”
Iniong knows that if she plays her cards right against Hills, a date with Lee may well be on the horizon for her.
“This fight might be the door to a world title fight. You will never know if your next fight will be a title fight. I will just give my 100 percent for this bout,” she said.
Iniong said her focus remains on Hills because if she wants to secure a match with Lee, she must address the task in front of her.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. Nathalie Gonzales Hills is my main priority right now. I must win this first before anything else,” she said.
Now competing on a bigger international MMA stage like ONE Championship, Iniong wants to leave a lasting impression in her debut.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me by ONE Championship. With my promotional debut being held in the Philippines, I will be able to show fans who I am as a fighter. Filipino fans are very passionate about MMA. I promise to give them a night to remember,” she said.
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