Top UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee got back into the win column with his fifth-round TKO win over Edson Barboza in New Jersey last weekend, and now there are several potentially exciting match-ups that await “The Motown Phenom.”
The historic weight class is arguably the most talented and buzzing in the UFC right now, but it also has a confusing, jumbled mess at the top involving champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, recently stripped former champion Conor McGregor, and recently stripped former interim champion Tony Ferguson. If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is, and the scenario is unlikely to gain any real clarity soon with all three inactive for one reason or another.
So while Lee called out Khabib – the undefeated machine everyone wants to fight – after his dominant stoppage over Barboza, it’s probably more realistic that the No. 5-ranked contender faces someone like Eddie Alvarez or Dustin Poirier.
Always informed and cognizant of the present status of his division, the 25-year-old Lee admitted as much during an appearance on this week’s The MMA Hour. In his view, Alvarez is out there for the picking, so he called him out by jabbing at his recently documented weight:
“We’ll see. I mean, there’s a lot of fights out there, a lot of options. We’re gonna see. I mean there’s Eddie out there, ripe for the pickins’, easy for the beatins’. So we gonna see if Eddie can lose some weight, maybe we can get in there.”
Lee is referring to the fact that Alvarez couldn’t fill in for the injured Ferguson on six days notice at April 7’s UFC after he admitted he weighed upwards of 155 pounds, and “The Motown Phenom” stated he wasn’t just making fun of Alvarez because ‘The Underground King’ said it himself.
Lee said he can back it up, however, as he saw Alvarez and verified his weight at UFC Atlantic City:
“He just even says that he’s just fat. The man’s like two inches shorter than me, and he talking about he walk around 190, I seen him there at the fight – he’s round – if you haven’t seen a round little Philly fella before, I did on Saturday night.”
It’s a bit ironic to hear “The Motown Phenom” critique another fighter’s weight, as he caused a frenetic scene prior to his interim title fight against Ferguson at UFC 216 before making weight at the last minute, and then actually missed weight for his fight with Barboza, causing the bout to be contested at a catchweight and forfeiting 20 percent of his purse.
Not surprisingly, that’s lead to cries for him to move up a weight class, so the trolls were out with their pitchforks calling for that just like they were during the fight when Lee was rocked by a big Barboza wheel kick in an otherwise dominant victory. “The Motown Phenom” said he’s used to the callouts, and getting kicked is just part of the sport:
“I mean, I get shit for everything. On Saturday, too. It is what it is at this point. I’m just rolling with the punches. Sometimes you gonna get kicked in the head.”