Lee: Why Mayweather chose me to prepare for McGregor
UFC lightweight Kevin Lee appeared recently on Submission Radio and discussed his fight vs. Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Night 112, the degree to which the UFC is promoting him, the feud with Al Iaquinta, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz and why Floyd Mayweather approaching him to help prepare for the Conor McGregor boxing match.
“I train at his gym a lot over with Dewey Cooper, but I go into his gym all the time, I know a lot of the guys on TMT,” explained Lee. “We just hang out, we good friends, or whatever. They approached me years ago about it – actually, before my fight with [Leonardo] Santos. They approached me and they (asked] if I ever would. So that was the first time that got brought up. And then as these talks kind of got more heated, they started to give me timelines and then we would start going over specifics.
“But you know what, these past two months almost it’s been pretty dry. So I haven’t heard anything back. I hear just about as much rumors as the next person. So I’m not gonna sit around and wait for him. The fight was supposed to happen in June, which I would have been available to help him. But if they ain’t gonna fight until July, November, whenever they’re gonna fight, I don’t know, but If it interferes with my schedule, I’m putting them on the backburner. I’ll let them make their own cheese. The only reason I was gonna do it was cause the money was nice, you know, the money, everything that comes with it, the notoriety and everything. But I’m gonna create that for myself. So when they put the fight off, I was like, okay, I’m gonna take this fight with Chiesa. I’m not gonna sit around and wait, I’ll beat McGregor my damn self. I don’t need to help somebody else do it.”
“Floyd’s very smart. He understands the fight game. We [MMA fighters] just move different. We’re very different from what you see in a professional boxer. We do a lot of things, even some things that could be considered wrong in boxing when we’re straight boxing, but they’re right for MMA and they’re awkward. They’re strange punches, the clinch-work is obviously a lot different, our tie-ups are different. We’re just different. If you’re getting ready to fight a wrestler, you don’t bring out a great striker because he’s a better fighter, you bring out another wrestler, even if he’s not as good of a fighter as the striker. So they’re bringing me out because I’m the closest to being able to emulate his style.”
“I’ll say this, McGregor wouldn’t stand a chance. There’s no chance. He wouldn’t stand a chance. It would be a once in a lifetime punch. But even then, with the eight counts and everything, it ain’t gonna happen. It’s not gonna happen. Bigger gloves, he got an eight count, you know, smaller weight class. It just ain’t gonna happen.”
“I think Mayweather would stop him in the later rounds. [McGregor] would be exhausted. He will be exhausted after a few rounds. It’s just that pace. That pace is different, it’s just a different sport. And people really don’t understand that because we also throw punches, but it’s just different. The ruleset is different. Literally, everything is different. MMA would be different if you just said you can’t kick anymore or you can’t throw knees. MMA in itself would be totally different. So it’s just a different sport, it’s just a different type of body type that goes into it, it’s a different type of way of preparing the body. It’s just different.
“And I can’t even really give a good prediction. I think he’s gonna knock him out in the later rounds, if I had to say. And I think that will just come with pure exhaustion. You’re taking a sprinter and you’re putting him in there in the long-distance race. Yeah, of course, he’s gonna lose. Conor is the much better fighter overall and I think even Floyd would admit that. If we’re talking about pure martial arts fighting skill, I mean, Conor’s way… you can’t even hold a candle to it. But as far as an actual boxing match, I mean, you’re playing into his sport. It’s a cash grab. It’s a good cash grab, that’s what I’ll say.”
Lee also discussed his fight with Chiesa, and offered a blunt prediction.
“I’m gonna drown him,” he said. “He’s gonna drown. He’s gonna get in there, he’s gonna move around with me for a few minutes, he’s gonna realize that everything that he does I’m gonna shut down, and he’s just gonna realize how much faster and stronger and more technical I am. So he’s gonna try that “country boy will survive” kind of push through. He’s gonna try till his last legs. But I might just change his life, because hard work and dedication will only take you so far when the man that’s better than you also puts in more hard work and more dedication to this. So I think I’ll change the man’s life.”