Earlier this year, Kevin Lee announced his intention to move from the lightweight division to the welterweight division. His time in this heavier division did not last long.
After tapping to a Rafael dos Anjos choke in his welterweight debut at UFC Rochester in May, Lee is now headed back down to lightweight.
Interestingly, it sounds like Lee’s decision to return to lightweight has more to do with a desire to fight the division’s champ Khabib Nurmagomedov than a disinterest in the welterweight division.
“After looking at that last fight with Khabib, I did an interview before Khabib fought Dustin (Poirier) and said I wasn’t too impressed,” Lee told ESPN (via MMA Mania). “But after seeing the way Khabib handled Dustin, I might want a piece of that cake. I like the biggest target I can find. He’s the real challenge out there. He’s the guy who is going to challenge Jon Jones for the pound-for-pound title. That’s the kind of fight that will get me up.”
While Kevin Lee hopes to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov in the future, he understands he needs to get back on track with a win first. Conveniently, he actually has an idea for his next fight. He’s hoping to fight Nurmagomedov’s friend and training partner Islam Makhachev in Moscow.
“I hear they’re going to Moscow and I hear Islam [Makhachev] might want a fight,” Lee said. “Me and Islam on a co-main in Moscow sounds good to me. People see him as the next Khabib. I’ll be training with Georges [St-Pierre]. There’s talks of trying to make Khabib and Georges happen. There are a lot of little storylines there. Lot of motivation in a fight like that.”
Does a lightweight fight between Kevin Lee and Islam Makhachev interest you?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/13/2019.