Talks of a Kevin Lee vs. Islam Makhachev pairing have been going since the beginning of last year. Lee’s dream opponent over the years has consistently been Khabib Nurmagomedov, but fans who have seen Islam Makhachev compete knows that Makhachev is the closest thing to being in the cage with Nurmagomedov stylistically. As the lightweight champion, Khabib was out of reach for Kevin Lee last year, but Nurmagomedov offered the consolation prize of a Lee facing Makhachev instead. Lee jumped at the opportunity and, weeks later, expressed frustration of the bout not being made. Lee would then be paired with Rafael dos Anjos instead in the welterweight division.
One year later, Kevin Lee has again expressed an interest in fighting Islam Makhachev, and Makhachev has reciprocated this interest. So when Makhachev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, took to Twitter, stating that no one wanted to fight Makhachev and begging someone to bravely come forward to accept the challenge, Kevin Lee’s frustration returned to the surface:
“WHaT. Cmon Ali don’t tell me I gotta turn to twitter to get this done. How many times I gotta raise my hand ??♂️??♂️ @MAKHACHEVMMA,” Lee tweeted.
The last time Kevin Lee took on a risky bout where it appeared he had much more to lose than gain was against Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244, which saw Lee turn in a spectacular knockout in one of the best performances of his career. Lee is seemingly looking to develop a reputation of taking out the most feared fighters on the come-up, now refusing to allow Makhachev to slip away from his barrel.
Who do you think would win in a fight between Kevin Lee and Islam Makhachev?