Lee took Ferguson down in the opening round of their October 7th bout, and after moving into mount, bombed down punches from above. “El Cucuy” managed to make it out of the round, however, and he began to turn the tables in round two. Finally, in round three, the well rounded fighter submitted the visibly exhausted Lee with a triangle choke.
Well, recently Nurmagomedov was a guest on “The MMA Hour”, and he was asked for his take on the memorable scrap. Here’s some of what the undefeated lightweight had to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“I think [Ferguson] won because Kevin Lee was fighting with him like chicken,” Nurmagomedov said. “That’s why he won. Lee] talked too much. He was not focused on the fight; he was focused on, I think, promoting the fight.
“When the fight was beginning, first round, [Lee] beat [Ferguson], and second round, [Lee] stayed with him in his distance, he ate a lot of jabs, and third round, he gave up, because he doesn’t have conditioning. That’s why.”
“…But what happens if Ferguson fights a fighter like me, who all the time tries to take him down, smash him on the ground, and never, never stop? All my life, in my amateur career, professional 24 fights, I never tire. Never, ever. In training, amateur fights, and professional fights, I never get tired.”
Now, some people would likely point out here, that Lee was battling a staph infection leading up to UFC 216, and he also had a brutal weight cut. So, that’s a big reason why he was short on conditioning (although, Nurmagomedov didn’t accuse him of under training in those quotes).
Of course, it would be fascinating to see how Ferguson, or Conor McGregor for that matter, deal with Nurmagomedov’s pressure and relentless takedown attempts. Here’s hoping we get to see at least one of those match-ups in 2018.