Kevin Lee is confident that he’ll emerge victorious against Edson Barboza.
Lee will meet Barboza this Saturday night (April 21) inside the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The lightweight tilt will headline UFC Atlantic City. This will be Lee’s third UFC event as a headliner and Barboza’s first.
In his last outing, Lee fell short in his bid for interim lightweight gold. The “Motown Phenom” was submitted in the third round by Tony Ferguson. The loss snapped Lee’s five-fight winning streak.
Barboza’s last bout was against Khabib Nurmagomedov. “The Eagle” earned a dominant unanimous decision win. Since that time, Nurmagomedov has gone on to become the undisputed UFC lightweight title holder.
Speaking to reporters at the UFC Performance Institute, Lee said he’ll top Nurmagomedov’s performance (via MMAJunkie.com):
“I want that Khabib fight. I’ve been calling for it for a long time. I feel like I’m going to get a better version of Edson Barboza that fought Khabib a couple months ago. I’m going to whoop this boy even worse then Khabib did, and then from there we can make a fight happen.”
Lee took things a step further and said Nurmagomedov showed some weaknesses in his bout against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.
“Once I get my hands on him that’s really going to show. There was a little bit of frustration watching that fight because I wanted to be the one to expose those holes and I want to be the one to give him that one on his record. But as soon as that fight’s over I got back on what I got to do and that’s go out there and whooping on Edson.”
Before running into Ferguson, Lee had beaten the likes of Jake Matthews, Francisco Trinaldo, and Michael Chiesa. Not only did he win those fights, but he finished all three of those opponents. His streak shot him up to the seventh spot in the official UFC lightweight rankings and he has maintained the spot despite losing to “El Cucuy.”
Barboza finds himself at the fourth spot. While his loss to Nurmagomedov was a landslide, his victories over Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, and Beneil Dariush haven’t been overlooked. Barbzoa has never lost back-to-back fights.
UFC Atlantic City will also feature a featherweight rematch. Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will share the Octagon with Cub Swanson in the co-main event. Plus, Aljamain Sterling looks to rebound from his first knockout loss when he meets unbeaten prospect Brett Johns.
Do you think Kevin Lee will get past Edson Barboza?