Gaethje’s comments come ahead of his own return to action later this year. Having not fought since his championship loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 last October, “The Highlight” will enter the Octagon for the first time in 2021 on November 6.
Looking to stake his claim for another shot at gold, Gaethje will face fellow former title challenger Michael Chandler at UFC 268. With two blockbuster title fights to follow their clash, the pay-per-view, which is set to take place inside Madison Square Garden, is one of the most stacked of the year to date.
The victor of the lightweight fight between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler will be hoping to secure a meeting with the champion in 2022. The belt is currently held by UFC veteran Charles Oliveira. “Do Bronx” defeated Chandler at UFC 262 earlier this year. The victory saw him finally reach the 155-pound mountaintop, and in doing so, he extended his win streak to nine.
But not everyone has been impressed with the Brazilian’s form. Speaking during an episode of UFC Unfiltered, Gaethje downplayed Oliveira’s 2020 submission win against Kevin Lee by suggesting the only good victory in his active streak came against Tony Ferguson.
“But there’s a certain way to fight that man (Ferguson), and I showed you how to do it. So that wasn’t as great as it (seemed), and it wasn’t as great as when I beat him, when he was on his 12-fight win streak. After that, it’s not as great. And that’s just what I think. And outside that, he beat Nik Lentz. If you could tell me anybody else on that eight-fight win streak that he beat…”
When reminded about the champ’s UFC Brasilia main event against “The Motown Phenom,” Gaethje slightly backtracked before letting his feelings on Lee known.
“That was a good one. That was alright,” Gaethje said in a swift self-correction. “Kevin Lee’s a bitch. Sorry. Sorry, Kevin.”
Despite the comment, “The Highlight” went on to admit that Lee has some skills. And after rejecting the idea that he dislikes the welterweight, Gaethje explained why Lee’s highlight-reel knockout against Gregor Gillespie wasn’t good for the 29-year-old’s career.
“No, I think he’s a bitch,” Gaethje continued. “I mean, he’s got skills. That knockout against Gillespie was the worst thing that could’ve happened to him because he doesn’t knock people out. He needs to win a certain way, and that’s by controlling everything, which is the grappling, and getting it to the fence, and getting it to the ground. I don’t want to knock a guy when he’s down; he just lost. He moved up weight classes. It doesn’t matter.”
After over a year away from the cage, Lee returned to action at UFC Vegas 35 last month. But his search for success at 170 pounds hit an immediate setback in the form of Daniel Rodriguez. Since debuting in 2020, “D-Rod” has already racked up six UFC wins. His only defeat, which came at the hands of Nicolas Dalby, was also highly disputed by fans and pundits.
Having fallen to a unanimous decision against Rodriguez, Lee appears to be at a crossroads in his career. Following his latest defeat, UFC president Dana White admitted that he’s uncertain about Lee’s future.
Do you agree with the comments Justin Gaethje made about Kevin Lee?