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Morning Report: Kevin Lee calls Ben Askren ‘easiest’ fight in welterweight division

Earlier this month, Ben Askren found himself on the wrong end of a UFC record-breaking knockout when Jorge Masvidal KO’d him in just five seconds at UFC 239. And now that Askren has suffered his first defeat, the wolves are coming out.

Askren had been ruffling a lot of feathers with his particular brand of trash talk since jumping over to the UFC. Among them was former UFC lightweight interim title challenger Kevin Lee. At the UFC seasonal press conference at UFC 236, Lee and Askren got into a minor spat about a previous training session together, planting the seeds for a future fight against one another. Now that fight could make sense, and according to Kevin Lee, would be all too easy for him.

“Ben is probably the easiest out of anybody,” Lee told Submission Radio recently. “He’s just too hittable and too one-dimensional. He had that little back and forth with me at the press conference talking about he took me down when I was 19 years old as if that meant something to anybody. He didn’t talk about the right hand I kept hitting him with right before that but that’s water under the bridge.”

Like Askren, Lee is also coming off of a loss in his last fight, a fourth-round submission defeat to Rafael dos Anjos in Lee’s welterweight debut. Now Lee is looking for his next opponent and Askren is probably the highest-profile name he could hope to get. But despite that fact, and his own confidence in beating Askren, Lee says he’s actually not all that interested in a fight with “Funky”.

“Like you said, he’s a big draw but he took a big hit with that one and he didn’t show that he can compete with a lot of the top guys, when you talk about five seconds,” Lee said. “Five seconds! I’m gonna keep it real with you, there’s gotta be something in it for me. There’s no way that I can outdo a flying knee five-second KO. Every time I go into a fight, I want to do better than the guy who did last so I don’t know. There’s not a whole lot there for me.”

One fight Lee is interested in though is a rematch with Michael Chiesa. Lee and Chiesa first met in 2017 with Lee getting a somewhat controversial technical submission win. Lee has a deep rear-naked choke locked in and referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout though Chiesa never submitted and says he never went unconscious. Chiesa even formally appealed the outcome but was unsuccessful. Since then, Chiesa also moved up to welterweight, and has been much more successful than Lee, picking up two wins in two fights. So with that kind of buzz growing about Chiesa, Lee says he’d be happy to run it back and end whatever controversy there is.

“That’s definitely something that’s still on the table,” Lee said. “If he feels like he wants to run it back, I definitely love free money so I’m not gonna turn it down. He’s a good competitor, I’ll give him that, [but] they’ve tossed him a couple softballs. I haven’t fought a Diego Sanchez in my career yet. I don’t get them kind of softballs. I’m taking on former world champions. We’ll see how that whole thing plays out. There could still be some smoke there, and if there’s smoke, there might be some fire.”

But aside from those two specific bouts, Lee says he’s not all that concerned about who he faces next. He’s just looking to get back in there against a top opponent soon, and his preferred timeline is this fall.

“October. October is where it’s at, that’s what we’re looking at,” Lee said. “We’re trying to figure out right now location and what card. I think a Pay-Per-View makes a lot of sense. I think there’s one here in Vegas so a homecoming in Vegas always sounds good but then again, there’s the San Francisco card in October. It’s a lot going on so October is when I’m looking at.”

Contrary to Lee’s words, there is not a planned PPV event for Las Vegas in October. The October PPV, UFC 243, is currently planned for Australia, though a specific location has yet to be announced. However, the UFC’s Fight Night event for San Francisco is set for October 12 and currently lacks a main event, though there are rumors of a Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson fight serving that role. Perhaps we will see Kevin Lee be the co-main event.


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Thoughts on Kevin Lee vs. Ben Askren?

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