Things were going great for Kevin Lee.
He’d taken out two TUF winners in Efrain Escudero and Michael Chiesa, was riding a five-fight win streak, and found finishes in the last four of those.
Then he met Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight belt, and he got totally handled.
Obviously, whatever value that interim belt had then is gone now, with Khabib Nurmagomedov crowned the true champ, and Ferguson stuck on the sidelines nursing a knee injury. But that just makes Nurmagomedov the man to beat, and the big question every 155-pounder must ponder is how to beat him.
Lee is undeniably a badass. However, is he badass enough for Nurmagomedov?
This weekend, Lee gets to headline UFC Fight Night 128 opposite Edson Barboza. Barboza is nothing like the champ – where Nurmagomedov is a killer wrestler, Barboza is a killer Muay Thai guy. Given Lee’s wrestling chops, Barboza should be a good test, but one he can pass.
There are a line of guys who might be worthy of a crack at the title, and Lee stands behind them. However, where does an impressive win over Barboza put him? And if and when he faces Nurmagomedov, can he somehow find the “W”?
Marinate on these questions while you watch this Lee fight.