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Kevin Lee believes he’s the ‘real challenge’ for Khabib Nurmagomedov, not Dustin Poirier or Eddie Alvarez

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Barboza vs Lee
Kevin Lee (right) in action against Edson Barboza at UFC Atlantic City
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Following his fifth-round TKO victory over Edson Barboza on Saturday night in Atlantic City, Kevin Lee called for a showdown with newly crowned UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

However, the path to the divisional kingpin is far from clear with Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez also looking to cement their places as the first challengers to the Russian’s crown.

Speaking backstage after his main event win, Lee claimed that Alvarez’s lack of availability to step in to replace the injured Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 pointed to him being “too fat” to fight for the title.

“Here’s the thing — Eddie was too fat to take a fight less than a month ago,” Lee told the gathered media backstage in Atlantic City (h/t

“When you say something like that and you’re not ready, opportunity passes you by. The man already done had his shot and he lost it, and lost it embarrassingly. It is what it is, he was too fat a little while ago, if he wants the work he can get it.”

Although Lee seems to think Poirier has done enough to win himself a title shot, he feels he brings a lot more to the table as a challenge for “The Eagle”.

“Dustin… I mean, if the folks want to see Dustin, they will, but I don’t feel he raises as many questions that really need to be answered,” Lee said. “I feel like I bring a complete style to this game and I can raise up a lot of questions that people want answers for, especially with someone like Khabib.

“Khabib can’t wrestle me, he can’t outwork me, he can’t out-strike me. So we’re going to see what’s the better fight and what the UFC want because that’s what really matters.”

Lee claimed that he would be more than willing to face Nurmagomedov in Russia, despite the champion insisting that he does not want to return to action until November.

“I don’t know, we going to see. I hear they’re going to Russia in September so I might be making a call to Uncle Dana,” Lee said. “I’m trying to make a fight happen. I don’t think Conor (McGregor) wants it; I don’t think no one else want it.

“Dustin says he wants it, but I’m gonna get in where I fit in. If they want to give it to Dustin and then Dustin get his face beat in. If Khabib wants a real challenge he knows the man to come to.”