UFC Milwaukee (UFC on FOX 31) headliner Kevin Lee is “very, very” confident in his weight cut heading into his fight with Al Iaquinta this weekend. And though he’s looking for a title shot, he feels the UFC should book Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, and get back to being a sport.
Milwaukee, WI — Kevin Lee had the first weight-cutting mishap of his combat sports career at UFC Atlantic City earlier this year. Missing weight by a single pound, Lee was clearly dejected after a rough weight cut. Still, he’d go on to defeat Edson Barboza in a thrilling main event in April, and he finds himself headlining another card this weekend: the UFC’s final bow on FOX, properly UFC on FOX 31.
He addressed both weigh, and the lightweight title picture with Cageside Press and other media outlets on Wednesday’s media day ahead of UFC Milwaukee.
“The weight cut ain’t really start yet today,” Lee started, then corrected himself. “It started a little bit this morning, but I’m in good spirits, feel good, just had a little bit of lunch in me. I’m feeling good”
“Very very confident,” he added after. “Especially after this morning, I’m even more confident.” Sounds like the weight is on point then, which is good news for a fighter in a division jam-packed with contenders right now. Ferguson. Poirier. Gaethje. Pettis. And the ever-present Conor McGregor.
Lee is trying to keep those sorts of distractions to the side, mind you.
“I keep the long term goals in the back of my head, but right now my focus is 100% on Al,” he explained. “Seeing his tendencies, see what he do, there’s a lot of things that I can take advantage of. And it’s a lot of things that I’m going [to do to] make sure I shine on Saturday. So that’s my only goal. After that, I’m going to just be me, let it flow, then we’ll see who’s next.”
Next may involving waiting for the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, if he can’t jump into a title fight immediately.
“Do they want to risk that again? Do they want to do it again, and do they want to put all that promotion behind it just for it not to happen?” he asked of the promotion scheduling Khabib vs. Ferguson a fifth time. “I think people are going to see on Saturday night that I’m going to be the rightful holder of that title anyway. And I’m going to let the people decide. I’m going to keep my focus on Al, I’m going to whoop Al so bad that people are going to be screaming for it. So that’s my only goal really.”
‘The Motown Phenom’ admitted that, based purely on merit, the promotion should make the fight between Ferguson and the champ happen. “In a sporting aspect, which I want the UFC to get back to, the competition of it, it should be rescheduled. The man’s earned his shot. They should go ahead and do it for the beginning of the year. 155 has been log-jammed for years and years and years now. Let’s go ahead and move this thing along and get it done. That’s the rightful fight.”
That said, with Conor McGregor been rumored for a bout with Dustin Poirier, who knows what will happen. “I hear that, but again, that’s just so short-sighted,” Lee said of that pairing. “If Conor’s going to take a step back and fight a man that he already knocked out in the first round at 145, you know, if he need that step backwards to get himself feeling good again, so that they can try and make some more money off him, than that’s on him.”
Poirier, meanwhile, he sees as being in the “fun fight” category along with Nate Diaz. “I’m out here chasing titles. If Conor needs to go into that category, then by all means.”
UFC Milwaukee (UFC on FOX 31) takes place Saturday, December 15 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kevin Lee meets Al Iaquinta in the main event.