“Rock Man” Chen Lei has persevered through many of life’s toughest obstacles when others have counted him out.
Now, the stage is set for him to make another mark on the world as Chen will make a quick return to the five-rope ONE Championship ring in September.
Nearly three months after his remarkable conquest of previously-unbeaten Indian sensation Ahmad Qais Jasoor, the undefeated Chinese bantamweight will enter the Baoshan Sports Center in Shanghai, China to clash with Malaysian dynamo Muhammad Aiman on the undercard of ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON on 8 September.
“I am ready to showcase my skills on this international platform again. I believe in myself,” Chen quipped.
“My opponent is well-rounded,” he said of his opponent, “I wish that this bout could take home the ‘Fight of the Night’ honors, but I also expect to win because at the end of the day, I am a much better fighter than he is.”
His unquestioned and undying self-confidence has not always been so readily available and accessible in Chen’s arsenal.
While he may confidently engage in a potential thriller against Aiman come 8 September in Shanghai, China, it was during his formative years where the future “Rock Man” endured the battle of his life.
Chen will be a long way from his humble beginnings in Changsha, which is the capital of Hunan Province.
However, in many ways, life prepared the 29-year-old Chinese prospect to become the martial arts warrior that he is today.
Lack of finances did not stop Chen from enjoying life. As a child, he enjoyed sporting activities such swimming and track and field.
But when he was 18, Chen began training in Wushu Sanda that served as a gateway to other disciplines.
Two years later, Chen added upon his base by learning the tricks of the trade of Muay Thai and boxing.
Not content to be proficient with his fists and feet, he also included Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to his repertoire.
The decision to supplement grappling was the final piece of the puzzle that led Chen, an eventual Shanghai Open BJJ champion, to mixed martial arts.
“Mixed martial arts is so close to a real fight,” Chen explained. “I studied striking and grappling, then wanted to try it myself. I have fallen in love with it. Mixed martial arts has given me purpose in life. I have started a new life through it.”
His determination nearly overwhelmed Chen when he stepped up for his first professional bout of his career.
“I was very nervous for my first professional match, and it was hard to control myself. I made many mistakes and almost lost, but finally submitted my opponent. When the referee raised my hand, I was so excited. That feeling is the best,” he recalled.
It is a feeling that Chen has grown well-acquainted with as he aced seven additional bouts and finished all of his foes to date.
Chen will have another opportunity to display his talents on the global stage at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON as he is slated to take on Aiman.
Although his first four matches under the ONE Championship banner exceeded expectations, Chen believes that it is only the beginning as he continues to showcase his dedication to the sport.
“I have finished every opponent I have fought so far. For me, there is nothing difficult about this. Train hard, fight easy — that phrase couldn’t be more true,” he stated.
Chen stressed that he treats his upcoming bout as the next step in his martial arts journey by squaring off with a fellow exciting competitor like Aiman, who is riding high on a two-bout winning streak.
According to Chen, he will not stop until he has the ONE Bantamweight World Championship title in his possession.
“I really believe I can accomplish any goal I have for myself in the cage or ring. I am undefeated so far, and have a world championship as my goal. I want to take the ONE Championship belt, make history, and show people everything is possible. As long as you dare to believe and work hard for your dreams, you will succeed,” he declared.