Kevin Lee believes Khabib Nurmagomedov should vacate the lightweight title so the division can move on.
After Nurmagomedov submitted Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 to defend his title he announced his retirement from the sport. He also said he didn’t want to hold up the division but Dana White has made it clear he is trying to convince “The Eagle” to fight one more time. For Lee, he thinks the promotion should let him retire and if he wants to return down the line, he can get an immediate title shot.
“I think the man should go ahead and retire. (The UFC) should let him retire, let him enjoy himself, and let him take his mind off the sport. Dana has said this before, once a guy starts talking about retirement, this isn’t a sport you want to stick around with,” Lee said to SCMP. “You should go ahead and do it and let the division go on. Let us keep working. Let somebody else hold that belt for a little bit. (Nurmagomedov) will be back, there’s no doubt about that, but let him be missed for a little bit. I think that’s the best option.”
If Nurmagomedov does end up vacating the belt, Kevin Lee thinks Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira should be the ones fighting for the belt. He understands the argument for Michael Chandler but knows those two deserve it more than anyone else.
“Poirier and Oliveira makes all the sense [for the vacant title],” Lee said. “I don’t see anybody else who even comes close, to be honest with you. Michael Chandler is one fight in [to his UFC career] and he just didn’t fight a top guy. So yeah, it’s Poirier – go ahead and let the man have his dues. He’s put in enough work for it, and so has Oliveira.”