Former UFC interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee had plenty to say about the legacy of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Lee spoke to Ariel Helwani of the MMA Hour, showcasing his distain of the fact the always rumored battles between Lee and Nurmagomedov never became a reality. Lee puts blame on Dominance MMA head hancho, and Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz.
“It is a little disappointing. Sometimes I feel like I say a little too much. And they got a good manager. Ali (Abdelaziz) is a smart man. So he seen me around a lot, and they did their best to keep him on the right path. So it is a little disappointing that that fight never happened with me and Khabib if he doesn’t come back. But I see the man out there playing soccer, so who knows. Maybe I’ll pick up a soccer ball or something, kick something around,” Kevin Lee stated on the MMA Hour.
‘The Motown Phenom’ continued to suggest that Nurmagomedov can never be considered an all time great or “GOAT” of the sport of mixed martial arts. The 28 year old contender believes that “The Eagle” never challenged himself to the fullest, therefore he can’t be named the greatest.
“That’s just a guy I want to test myself against. And yeah, he’s a great champion and all that, but people even now are starting to see that he didn’t really have the challenges that he should’ve had to really be an all-time great. He never really fought a great wrestler, and that was something I was seeing the whole time coming up.”
Nurmagomedov retired abruptly at 29-0 in 2020 after defeating Justin Gaethje, following the passing of his father. Of his 29 victories, 13 were UFC wins. Nurmagomedov defeated Al Iaquinta for the unanimous title at UFC 219. On his extensive resume sits, current top contenders and former interim champions, Dustin Poirier and Justin Geathje. Also included is former two division champion Conor McGregor, and former lightweight champion Rafeal Dos Anjos. Nurmagovmedov finished McGregor, Poirier and Gaethje in the span 3 fights.