When Kevin Lee faces Edson Barboza in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee on April 21st in Atlantic City, it won’t be just with an eye to win. Over the course of his eighteen fight UFC career, Barboza has only lost five times. And of those five, the two most recent are the two men set to battle for the (potentially) vacated lightweight title: Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The goal then for Lee is clear, don’t just beat Barboza, do it better than Khabib and Tony did. That’s how the ‘MoTown Phenom’ admitted that he’s looking at his next bout, in a recent interview with Submission Radio:
“100 percent. 100 percent,” Lee said when asked if he wanted to send a statement by outdoing Nurmagomedov and Ferguson. “Him and Tony both. Those are Edson’s two losses and I’m gonna beat him worse than either one of those dudes. So, we’ll see. I’m looking to go out there and I’m looking to best myself and show something new, show something different to the folks.”
“Domination.” Lee continued when asked how the fight would go. “I don’t think the man can go 25 minutes with me. I don’t think really, there’s not a lot of men in this world that can, so it’s gonna be domination. I’m saying by three (rounds) he gets up out of there. But tune into the fight, you’ll see it unfold.”
Lee also responded to Khabib’s recent “small heart” jab in reference to Lee’s performance in his loss to Ferguson, noting “I got more fights than the man in one year, than he’s had in five years. So I show up, I make weight, I show up even when I don’t wanna show up.”
Eventually, with a win over Barboza, the Xtreme Couture fighter wouldn’t mind going on a hometown tour, defeating other elite lightweights in front of their fans. Even including a bout in Russia against Khabib.
“100 percent,” Lee said when asked if he’d fight Khabib in Russia. “I think I called for that a couple of years ago. I wanted to fight him in Russia, I wanted to fight the other boy, Khabilov, the 155-pounder. I mean, I’ll fight anybody, anywhere. It’s usually those fights where I’m the underdog or I’m going down to Brazil and I’m fighting their hometown heroes and those are the fights where I’m gonna shine.
“You’re gonna see it in Atlantic City. Edson trains in Atlantic City or he trains in New Jersey I think, so you’re gonna see it again. 100 percent after this one, I’ll beat Edson in New Jersey and then I’ll go out there and beat Khabib in Russia. And then, who knows, maybe we’ll throw a stadium show with Conor McGregor in the future in Ireland. We’ll see how this whole thing shakes out. It’s a big couple of years left for the lightweight division and I’m excited to push that forward.”
UFC Fight Night 128 goes down at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. Alongside the expected Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee headline, the card is planned to include twelve other bouts. Notably Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson, David Branch vs. Thiago Santos, and Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns.