Kevin Lee Eyeing Clash With New UFC Addition Michael Chandler Next Year
By Ross Markey
Sidelined with injuries to both ACLs, one-time interim lightweight title challenger, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee has spoke of the promotion’s signing of former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Michael Chandler – someone he’s had his eye on potentially sharing the Octagon with one day.
The Michigan native last featured at UFC Fight Night Brasília in March – headlining opposite streaking contender, Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira, dropping a third-round guillotine after tipping the lightweight scales at 158.5-pounds.
The recent Tristar Gym mover had returned to winning ways at UFC 244 in November of last year at Madison Square Garden, launching a massive head kick knockout over the then-undefeated wrestling ace, Gregor Gillespie in the opening round.
Whilst recovering from a recent ACL tear, Lee had suffered a tear in his other ACL – sidelining him beyong this year further. Speaking on MMA on SiriusXM – the 28-year-old gave his thoughts on how Chandler could fare in the UFC, and a possible theory on why he’s been thrust as a backup option for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24th.
“I expected them to sign (Michael) Chandler,” Lee said. “It seemed like he was getting over Bellator and he’s a competitor, so he probably actually wanted to really test himself. But the fact that they’re (the UFC) trying to make him the backup for Gaethje-Khabib, I don’t really get that. I think that’s just a way for them to try and sht on Bellator. ‘It’s OK: Let’s throw him in there with Khabib right out of the gate so Khabib would whoop his ass, and now, just now I can sht on Scott Coker just a little bit more and make him look a little bit worse.”
Lee, who tested welterweight waters opposite former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night Rochester in May of last year in an arm-triangle defeat – explained how he believes Chandler is too small for the division, before throwing his name into the hat for a clash with the Missouri native next year.
“Against (Justin) Gaethje he might stand a chance,” Lee explained. “But against Khabib he’s just way too small. I think Chandler is way too small for this whole division. I actually hope he gets to fight and once he loses, then it might be me and him in the middle of next year. You never know how things are going to play out. I’ve been looking at Chandler for a long-ass time. That’s going to be a good fight.”
Since his promotional debut back in February of 2014 – Lee has managed eye-catching victories over the likes of Jon Tuck, Michel Prazeres, Magomed Mustafaev, Francisco Trinaldo, Michael Chiesa, Edson Barboza, and the above mentioned, Gillespie.