Kevin Lee has been critical of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov in the past, but he appears to have changed his tune.
Last month, Nurmagomedov dismantled Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. Many fans believed Poirier had what it took to defeat the undisputed lightweight champion, however, his efforts were futile as he was submitted by champ during the third round. Nurmagomedov is now expected to fight Tony Ferguson.
After witnessing Nurmagomedov’s dominant performance against Poirier at UFC 242, Lee is no longer convinced that Ferguson can overthrow the lightweight king.
“I’ve got to be honest: If you asked me before the Poirier fight, I would have been like Tony is still like a 90 percent chance of winning,” Lee said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “After seeing what Khabib did to Poirier, I think it’s going to be very hard for Tony to beat him.”
Kevin Lee fought Tony Ferguson in 2017. Though Lee started strong, Ferguson ultimately won by third-round submission to earn the interim lightweight title.
Ferguson has been scheduled to fight Nurmagomedov on multiple occasions, but the fight has fallen through each time. Now it seems the stars are aligning and he will finally get his overdue title short.
Lee observed that if Ferguson loses, there are very few interesting opponents left or Nurmagomedov in the lightweight division. He is hopeful this could get him a crack at the title.
“After the Tony fight, there’s not many more competitors that people want to see fight him. That’s one of the big motivations for me to go down 155,” Lee said.
Lee’s last fight was a welterweight bout against Rafael Dos Anjos, who Nurmagomedov has already beaten. He lost this fight by submission. His fight prior to that was a decision loss to another Nurmagomedov victim in Al Iaquinta.
According to a report from MMA Junkie, Kevin Lee could soon have the chance to correct this skid, as he’s been linked to a UFC 244 fight with Gregor Gillespie. If he wins that fight, He’s confident that a title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov could be in his future.
“I think that a lot of people want to see me get in there with Khabib, and I want to see it too.”
What do you think of these comments from Kevin Lee?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/1/2019.