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UFC 216: Kevin Lee Believes Khabib Nurmagomedov is Protecting “That Imaginary ‘O'”

Kelsey Mowatt

UFC 216

Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone undefeated in 24 pro-bouts, and is the #1 contender at 155, but evidently Kevin Lee isn’t all that impressed with “The Eagle’s” resume.

Nurmagomedov’s record is an extremely rare find, as far as top tier MMA goes, as the galaxy class grappler has never lost and he’s gone 8-0 in the UFC. But, due to injuries and medical issues, Nurmagomedov has fought just three times since 2013. This year alone, his health has cost him the opportunity to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim 155 title.

Well, the man who has been tapped to face Ferguson for that title this Saturday at UFC 216, is Lee. Recently the rising fighter attended a media luncheon to promote the card, and “The Motown Phenom” was asked about Nurmagomedov. Here is some of what he had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“It’s weird,” Lee said. “The man don’t fight! So, what can I do? What can I do? How longs that dude been out? How long, it’s been over a year now? He doesn’t want to fight nobody, really. He doesn’t want to fight nobody that proves to be a challenge to him. He wants to hold on to that imaginary ‘0’ that he thinks he’s got.”

“I said I’d take [Nurmagomedov] on in December, Dec. 2, but I don’t know,” Lee added. “Now Conor’s saying that saying he might come back earlier, so, we’ll see. We’ll see how this one shakes up after. I’m interested in that, I’m interested in taking on Tony, and then fighting Khabib in December, and then defending the title against Conor, but we’ll see how things shake out.”

Now, obviously Nurmagomedov supporters will take issue with these comments, and they would likely argue that Nurmagomedov’s injuries etc have cost him dearly, in terms of missing out on big fights. So, in other words, would he really invent these medical issues as a means to avoid all-star bouts and more lucrative opportunities?

One thing’s for certain: these are fascinating times in the lightweight division. If McGregor decides to defend the 155 belt, he’s going to have face a couple of top tier contenders.

 

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