When it was announced that Kevin Lee will fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title, not everyone was on board with the match-up, and evidently Al Iaquinta was one of those folks.
Lee has been tapped to face “El Cucuy” for the new title, this Saturday at UFC 216. The rising fighter was booked for the opportunity after Lee defeated Michael Chieasa, and moved his winning streak to five.
But, since Lee is currently ranked #7, some observers were surprised when “The Mototown Phenom” was signed for the fight. Iaquinta recently appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and the heavy handed lightweight had this to say about the match-up (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“There’s a lot of other people that should have gotten a title shot,” Iaquinta said. “He had a good interview. He was in the right place at the right time. He won the fight, Ferguson happened to be doing the FOX thing. They had a little back and forth. I think Kevin Lee, I don’t think he’s there.”
Now, if you forgot, Iaquinta took on Lee back in 2014, and won the fight via unanimous decision. So, from this perspective, it’s not too surprising to hear the New York fighter say this. Lee is aware of what critics have been saying, about his title shot and where he sits in the rankings, and he doesn’t care…
Iaquinta also had this to say about Lee, in terms of the latter’s abilities in the cage:
“I think Kevin Lee, he’s big, he’s strong, he’s a good wrestler,” Iaquinta said. “But his stand up is not there, he’s stiff. I don’t know. When I was growing up, I’d look at guys and I’d go, well he’s got some talent there, he’s good. He’s like championship worthy.”
“Fighting brings out people. You can see what people are made of. I know exactly what he’s made of. I can see it clear as day.”
It will be interesting to see if Lee can get by Ferguson, and secure the interim belt. If he does, and ends up facing champion Conor McGregor, Iaquinta is predicting Lee would get “demolished” by the Irish star.