Despite Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov’s recent retirement immediately following UFC 253 in October, one-time interim title chaser, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee plans on eventually securing a long floated pairing with the undefeated Russian.

Khabib scored his second straight successful lightweight title unification win at the ‘Fight Island’ event, taking home a highlight-reel triangle win over interim gold holder, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje in the second round.

Currently recuperating from a pair of ACL tears, Lee last featured in the main event of UFC Fight Night Brasilia in May — dropping a third-round guillotine defeat to this weekend’s UFC 256 feature, Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira. Prior to the event, Lee tipped the lightweight scales at 158.5-pounds. 

The defeat marked Lee’s slump back to the losing column, following a statement triumph against the then-undefeated, Gregor Gillespie, where he managed a stunning first-round high-kick knockout win at UFC 244 in November.

Lee, who has consistently maintained that he can be Khabib’s kryptonite due to his own grappling prowess and his striking acumen, claimed the sambo specialist will eventually make an Octagon return.

He’s (Khabib Nurmagomedov) going to come back,” Lee told ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani recently. “He’s going to come back for one or two of them. It’s just my job to be the one that he’s going to come back for. I’ve got to be big enough for him to come back for.

I’ve been kinda straight away from everything, been shying away from everything,” Lee said. “It’s kind of an old Detroit mentality, kinda stay down until you come up. My last ‘come up’ season was 2017, when I had my last ‘come up’ season. So the next one, I’ll make sure I’ll give him something to shoot for. He’s still got that fire in him too, I know it. I’ve just got to give him something to shoot for.

A six-year, seventeen-fight Octagon veteran, Lee has managed to score some real notable wins during his time under the UFC’s banner. With an 11-6 organizational résumé, Lee has bested the likes of Michel Prazeres, Efrain Escudero, Jake Matthews, Magomed Mustafaev, Francisco Trinaldo, Michael Chiesa, Edson Barboza, and the above mentioned, Gillespie. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.