Miami, FL — UFC veteran Kevin Lee is now a part of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC.
Lee, a former title challenger under his old promotion, is arguably the most relevant fighter to join Khabib’s brand to date. The organization will make its U.S. debut early next year, with Eagle FC 44 on January 28. While Sergei Kharitonov vs. Tyrone Spong headlines that show, Lee will make his debut later in 2022.
Speaking with Cageside Press during a media day in Miami on Wednesday, Lee shed light into his decision to sign with a lesser known promotion, when it’s likely some of the other major players were interested in his services.
“They offered me a lot more freedom than other places. And respect on top of it,” Lee said in regards to Eagle FC. “Obviously Khabib’s been a great champion, he knows what it’s like to be a fighter. So they offered me the respect, and the freedom to stand out and not just be an Eagle FC fighter. It’s time to bring MMA into the future, and that’s as establishing ourselves as brands.”
There were other factors as well, such as taking a boxing match down the line.
“It’s possible for co-promotion, and that’s something that excites me with this. I just feel like that’s the future of the sport. Boxing has done it, and they’ve got big money and they bring in big money, and it’s a winner for everybody. So I feel like it’s time for real fighting to join that.”
It’s worth noting that Kevin Lee is now fighting under the employ of a former rival and fighter he was chasing back in the UFC in Khabib. The pair, on the surface, make for interesting bedfellows. Of course, it’s all business, though the two haven’t actually discussed their shared history so far.
“We haven’t had those words, but we’ve had the looks already,” revealed Lee. “There’s certain things amongst competitors. We know, he knows. He knows it’s all respect. My actions will speak louder than any words.”
Watch our full interview with Eagle FC’s newest fighter, Kevin Lee, above.