Ham Seo Hee took care of business at ONE Fight Night 8 in Singapore this past weekend, crusing to a straightforward decision win against Itsuki Hirata in their much-anticipated atomweight showdown.
The South Korean star’s takedown defense and quick combinations were enough to get her hand raised on Friday, Mar. 24, and the win is arguably her most significant so far in ONE Championship.
In her post-match interview inside the Circle, Ham admitted to commentator Mitch Chilson that she felt anxious while preparing for the match because she wasn’t sure if her foe would make weight.
“First of all, I was just really not sure if the fight was actually going to materialize. I was just worried that my efforts would come to nothing as it did last time. But I recognize the fact that Itsuki Hirata is a very, very famous person and a very famous fighter. And a lot of attention was actually directed toward me, and that made me nervous a little bit,” Ham said.
The veteran mixed martial artist had reason to feel the nerves. Hirata failed to hit the atomweight mark before their original bout last year, leading to it getting canceled just days before the bell rang.
This time, though, the fight went ahead. And although she was complimentative of “Android 18,” Ham did say that she expected her Japanese counterpart to put up more of a fight.
“So, a lot of things were said. A lot of fire was shot in my direction from Itsuki Hirata. So, I did expect her to come out with a little bit more fire – a little bit more energy. But as you saw, I understood that it’s very difficult to get a very exciting fight just from myself. Just from my own efforts,” she said.
The win moved the #2-ranked atomweight contender to 3-0 in ONE.
Ever the perfectionist, however, Ham was honest about her performance overall while admitting she was happy with the result that came from it.
“I’m very happy. I’m not completely happy with the way it panned out, but I am happy that it’s over and that I got the victory,” she said.
And in an exciting turn for the 36-year-old star, the victory on Friday night caught the eye of ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who quickly assured her that she would get a shot at the ONE atomweight championship in her next fight.
After years of struggles and putting in standout performances, Ham is now semmingly standing on the precipice of history.
“I was very happy. I got chills when I heard directly from Mr. Chatri Sityodtong. It’s the only thing I’ve wanted since joining this organization, and I’m very excited,” she said.