Bellator 265’s Keith Lee is not feeling overlooked in the least, despite opponent Jornel Lugo’s talk of joining a proposed bantamweight grand prix next year.
In fact, up until Wednesday’s media day promoting the event, Lee hadn’t even caught wind of Lugo’s statements. Not that it makes any difference — in Lee’s opinion, Lugo is doing exactly what he should be doing.
“I don’t care. To be honest with you, he should be [looking ahead]. I feel like I would be more concerned if he was only looking at me and if he was only paying attention to me,” Lee told Cageside Press during Thursday’s Bellator 265 media day. “He got a future in front of him, just like I have a future in front of me. This is not going to stop nothing.”
Lee sees his opponent as both a roadblock, and a stepping stone, “allowing me to go to the next level in my life,” he continued. “And I’m the same thing in his life. So no, I don’t feel no kind of way about that. He should have high aspirations. He’s talented. We’re both talented, we’re both on the highest level of professional fighters. And if you’re not looking towards the future, what are you doing this for?”
Lee is looking to bounce back from a loss against Raufeon Stots — and it was no surprise to Lee when Stots defeated the highly-touted Magomed Magomedov last week.
“I knew that already. I knew who I was going in there with, I knew he [Stots] was one of the best in the world,” said Lee. “I wanted to test myself, I wanted to go out there and fight, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Despite losing the fight, Lee does not believe he failed that test. Rather, “it was just a learning process, and it was a stepping stone. I’m definitely a better fighter than I was then, I was a better fighter in that fight than I was in my last fight, and it’s all about progression,” he said. Progressing as a fighter is something Lee prides himself on, he added.
“I don’t know why people were surprised about the Magomedov fight. I knew exactly what was about to happen. And Magomedov is extremely talented, he’s somebody that I’ve trained with before. He’s extremely talented; Raufeon’s talented too. We’re at the highest level of Bellator,” Lee went on to say. He believes people are sleeping on the bantamweight division, “and I think that’s why the conversation about the grand prix is being brought up. You’ve got some of the most talented guys in the world, regardless of promotion. Anybody in the top 10 of Bellator in the 35 division can go to the UFC and be successful, and I think that’s starting to be shown.”
Watch the full Bellator 265 media day appearance from Keith Lee above. The event takes place this Friday, August 20 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.