There is no division in the UFC that is as exciting or dynamic as the lightweight division. The division has incredible depth in terms of talent and fighters that are incredibly talented aren’t even inside the top ten.
One of those fighters is Kevin Lee (18-6). Back in 2017, it appeared that “The Motown Phenom” was heading for great things in the UFC. Lee had won five fights in a row which earned him an interim lightweight title shot against Tony Ferguson (25-5).
The two men fought at UFC 216 for the interim title. Lee dealt with a staff infection leading up to the fight, but still took the opportunity to go for the gold. He had some moments of success in the fight, but eventually, Tony Ferguson really started to ware him down.
In the third round, El Cucuy locked in a triangle choke. An exhausted Kevin Lee couldn’t fight the choke and ended up tapping out. Tony Ferguson had his hand raised an the interim UFC lightweight title wrapped around his waste.
Since that fight, it’s been very up and down for Kevin Lee. He’s had great wins against Edson Barboza and Gregor Gillespie, but he’s also dropped three fights. A decision to Al Iaquinta, a submission loss at welterweight to Rafael Dos Anjos, and most recently to Charles Oliveira back in March.
Of course, you see those names and there is really no shame in losing to any of them. All of them are top ten fighters in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Lee is currently recovering from a knee injury, but he told MMA Junkie he has one opponent in mind for his return.
Will the UFC book Ferguson – Lee 2?
In an interview with MMA Junkie, Lee said that he would like a rematch with Tony Ferguson upon his return to the octagon. He believes the fight makes perfect sense given where the two are at and he would like to get that fight back after his loss at UFC 216.
For almost seven years, Tony Ferguson was the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. Ferguson went on a 12-0 run that saw him capture the interim title against Lee. However, 2020 was a rough year for El Cucuy.
Ferguson was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 249. However, COVID shut down travel and Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje instead. Gaethje dominated the fight and handed Ferguson his first loss since 2012.
Then, Ferguson fought Charles Oliveira at UFC 256. Somehow, the Oliveira loss was even more lopsided than the loss to Justin Gaethje. Now, Ferguson is kind of in no-mans land in the lightweight division.
Both Lee and Ferguson are coming off of losses to Oliveira. Lee is ranked 12th while Ferguson is still ranked fifth in the lightweight division. Considering their history and Ferguson’s 2020, perhaps this is the fight for the UFC to make. However, I wouldn’t put it past Tony to want someone in the top ten next.