Earlier this month, we learned that top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson will battle Kevin Lee – not undefeated Russian star Khabib Nurmagomedov – for UFC interim lightweight gold at UFC 216. Given Ferguson and Nurmagomedov’s rivalry and shared status as the two best lightweights not named Conor McGregor, this news came as a bit of a surprise. In the opinion of Lee, however, the reasons for this fight are pretty simple.
“We can cut the bullshit – [Nurmagomedov’s] just being a bitch about it,” Lee recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “He just doesn’t want to fight. Bottom line, he doesn’t want to fight.”
“He wants to hold on to that imaginary zero that he’s got [on his undefeated record].”
Lee then weighed in on his upcoming battle with Ferguson, praising his opponent as the toughest fighter in the division.
“Everybody knows – if you ask any fighter in this division – Tony is the toughest fight in this division,” he said. “Hands down. To me, he’s the real champ. You can say [Conor] McGregor’s the champ, because he’s that on paper. But the man only has one fight. Tony’s got 11, 12? He’s already got double-digit fights in the (UFC’s) lightweight division.”
Tough as Ferguson may be, Lee still plans to dominate at UFC 216.
“I’m going to fuck Tony Ferguson up,” Lee said. “There’s a reason why none of these dudes put my name in their mouth.”
When we last saw Lee in action, he picked up a dominant – though somewhat controversial – submission win over the dangerous Michael Chiesa. With this win, he extended his win-streak to five, as he has also recently defeated Francisco Trinaldo, Magomed Mustafaev, Jake Matthews, and Efrain Escudero. Only Escudero made it to a decision with the young lightweight contender.
Do you think Kevin Lee can pull of the upset against Tony Ferguson?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/20/2017.