You might not know her name yet, but by the time ONE Championship’s atomweight grand prix wraps up, Denice Zamboanga hopes you do.

Zamboanga (8-0) has what could be the biggest test yet in her MMA career when she takes on Seo Hee Ham (23-8) on Friday in the ONE Championship: Empower co-main event.

Not only does Ham have four UFC fights on her resume, but she’s unbeaten the past four years. The fight is a quarterfinal bout in ONE’s atomweight tournament and takes place on the promotion’s first all-female card in its history.

The 24-year-old Zamboanga is off to a perfect 8-0 start in her pro career, including wins in her first three ONE fights. And while it was possible she could have sat back to wait for a title shot, she said being in the tournament will allow her relevance in the division to play out for everyone to see.

“Every one of us in the weight class are world-class fighters,” Zamboanga told MMA Junkie Radio. “Putting me in the grand prix is like going back to zero again. There are no rankings when it comes to his grand prix. Having the grand prix will prove who deserves to be the title (challenger).”

Zamboanga said Ham’s lengthy career will make her a tough opponent. Ham has nearly four times as much experience as Zamboanga, and the South Korean is 10 years her senior.

She’s been in the cage with the likes of Joanne Calderwood, Cortney Casey and Jinh Yu Frey. And while Zamboanga beat Mei Yamaguchi in 2020 just before the pandemic, her first four opponents all were making their pro debuts.

“It’s not an easy fight for me because she’s a very experienced fighter,” Zamboanga said. “I think I can manage her in striking, or grappling or jiu-jitsu. So we’ll see what happens. I want to finish her so I can prove I can finish my opponents easily, then move to the next one and start again.”

Check out the complete interview with Zamboanga in the video above ahead of ONE Championship: Empower at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The main card streams on the B/R Live app Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Prelims also stream on the app beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET.


How to watch ‘ONE Championship: Empower’ – Fight card, start time, live stream


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