Kevin Lee will fight for the interim lightweight title against Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 216 this coming Saturday night in Las Vegas, and the prospect of potentially facing current champion Conor McGregor after that if he emerges victorious hasn’t exactly left the 25-year-old quaking in his boots.
“As far as I’m concerned the man has lost three of his last four fights,” Lee told MMAfighting.com. “I don’t even think beat Nate Diaz the second time. I like a big challenge, so he’s gotta show me a little bit. He’s a small dude, too, he’s 145. He was getting out-wrestled by a dude who’s 40 years old and a boxer. He was getting him in the clinches and out-wrestling him. I mean, he was, he’s gotta show a little bit more than that to me.
“So after this one, maybe I might give him a shot at the title. Maybe, I don’t know. We’ll see how he kind of reacts. Maybe he should fight Nate again and prove that he can fight me.”
Though he’s dismissive of McGregor, it seems very much as if Lee is taking a leaf out of the Irish superstar’s playbook, with many of his comments sounding like the kind of things that ‘The Notorious’ has been saying about his past opponents.
Like McGregor, Lee has so far mostly been able to back up his words with action in the Octagon, winning 9 of his 11 fights there so far, including his current five-fight winning streak.
Now he has the champion’s attention, with McGregor stating at a Q&A in Glasgow this past weekend that he’s going to be watching the interim title fight closely to see whether the winner impresses enough to prove that they should be next in line to fight him, but the way Lee sees it, he is the one that will dictate if and when a potential fight between them would take place.
“It will be on my timetable. You know, I’m expecting to take this fight. I’m doing the hard work. I’m doing the heavy lifting. I’m fighting Tony. Nobody wanted to fight Tony. Conor didn’t want to fight Tony. It will be on my timetable, I’ll tell him when we gonna fight.
“If we fight on St. Patrick’s Day? Maybe. That might make some good business so I don’t know, I’ll see.”