SHE may be early into her career in ONE Championship but upstart Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga is very much determined to see her goal of winning a world title through.

Having a solid run to begin her time in ONE, Ms. Zamboanga said she is confident of her talent and believes that given the opportunity she could achieve greater things in mixed martial arts.

Twenty-three-year-old Zamboanga (4-0) won her first two matches in ONE in convincing fashion and is turning heads in the women’s atomweight division.

She debuted in December last year in Malaysia, earning a unanimous decision victory over hometown bet Hayatun Jihin Radzuan.

Then in February in Singapore, she followed it up with another unanimous decision win against veteran Mei Yamaguchi of Japan.

The twin victories sparked conversation that Ms. Zamboanga could be prime for a shot at the title currently held by long-time champion Angela “The Unstoppable” Lee.

As it turned out, the title shot buzz did not go unnoticed as ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong agreed and offered Ms. Zamboanga the next title shot against reigning champ Lee.

“I’m super grateful and overwhelmed. I can’t express how happy I am,” said Ms. Zamboanga, who finished information technology in college and currently trains in Thailand with the famous Fairtex Training Camp, of the big opportunity presented to her.

“This is the biggest challenge I will face and I will train so hard for this. She is one of the people I’ve always watched in MMA, and now I have to compete against her for the world title. It will definitely be a hard one. Everything I will show inside the Circle will be a surprise. I want to surprise everyone on fight night,” she added.

Ms. Zamboanga went on to say that as she prepares for her fight against Ms. Lee, she will also be thinking of winning for her team and the entire Philippines, making them proud.

“Beating a star like Angela Lee and winning a world title means so much to me. It’s like a dream come true — a win over my idol and a win for the Philippines,” she said.

“I represent my country not just locally but internationally. I’m so proud to be a Filipino. Even if I fight internationally, I can feel the support of the Filipino fans, even through their messages and cheers for me.”

ONE Championship events are currently on hold as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rages on. But it has expressed its determination and readiness to resume things once conditions permit so. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo