At UFC 249 in April, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will be putting his strap up for grabs against Tony Ferguson. However, lightweight contender Kevin Lee claims Nurmagomedov and Lee are fighting for his title.
Speaking to MMA Junkie recently, Lee offered his thoughts on the matchup between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson. Lee said the lightweight throne truly belongs to him, and he is going to continue to go into the Octagon and prove that every time he fights.
“Khabib and Tony are getting ready to fight for it, but that’s my title,” Lee said. “I got to go out there and I got to keep proving it to people. So yeah, I feel like I’m a little exed out of certain conversations that should be happening but, I’m going to come out the back end and they can’t stop me. So yeah, am I getting a little bit more respect? OK, but not really. Not yet.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been booked to fight four times before their booking for UFC 249. Each time the fight has been scrapped due to injury, with both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov pulling twice each. The mixed martial arts (MMA) community continues to hold its breath as the days inch closer to the fight, hoping another injury doesn’t derail this dream matchup again.
As for Lee, he initially wanted to fight on the undercard of that headliner, but that didn’t materialize. Instead, he’ll challenge Charles Oliveira at UFC Brasilia this March. Despite the bad injury history the matchup has seen, “The Motown Phenom” believes the fight will happen this time around.
“I think it’s gotta happen,” Lee said. “Even just for them two, I think they’re going to try and make everything happen to make sure that that fight happens for sure so I’m kind of banking on it to happen. I wanted to fight on the undercard of that one, but I’ll still be in attendance, I’ll still watch that fight.”
Before he can think about any sort of title bout, Lee first needs to get through a streaking Oliveira. Not only does he face a man who has finished his last six fights in a row, but he takes him on in front of his own Brazilian crowd in enemy territory. Lee is continuing his work with Tristar Gym in Montreal, alongside the likes of Firas Zahabi and Georges St-Pierre, and anticipates a “hell of a fight” with his Brazilian counterpart.
“I think it’s going to be a hell of a fight,” Lee said. “I’m headed over to Tristar and we going to come up with a great game plan and we’re going to go out there and put it on him. I don’t think he’s as well-rounded as me. He is very well-rounded but not as much as I am so I’m going to prove again that I’m the most well-rounded lightweight and I’m coming for that title.”
What do you make of Lee’s comments suggesting Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are fighting for his title?