Kevin Lee doesn’t care if Conor McGregor wants to fight ‘journeyman’ Nate Diaz next

Kevin Lee isn't concerned about what Conor McGregor is doing next

On Oct. 7, Kevin Lee will battle Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight championship at UFC 216 while current 155-pound king Conor McGregor sits on the sidelines awaiting his return in 2018.

While the winner between Lee and Ferguson will have the interim title, it doesn’t appear that either one of them will face McGregor when he comes back because the Irishman is most likely going to take on Nate Diaz in a trilogy fight after the split a pair of bouts in 2016.

While Ferguson has expressed his frustrations over McGregor handpicking Diaz as an opponent rather than facing the real No. 1 contender in the division, Lee couldn’t care less about who the current lightweight champion faces next.

In fact, Lee went as far as telling McGregor to go ahead with the Diaz trilogy when speaking with the Fight Society podcast because he’s got plenty of tougher opponents he could face instead.

“I don’t give a f–k. I really don’t care,” Lee said. “More power to him. If he can go out there and people for some reason think Nate Diaz is an elite fighter just because he beat Conor. Nate Diaz has double digit losses. He’s got 12 or 13 losses. He’s a journeyman.

“If he comes back and takes a tune up fight against a journeyman, I guess, I’m not going to give you no props for it but if that’s what he feels like he need to do before he can step up and really take on a real challenge and really take on a young champion.”

Lee says McGregor has already messed up by not asking to fight him much sooner when the 25-year old lightweight was still getting his feet wet in the UFC.

Now at this stage, Lee not only believes he’s ready to topple Ferguson to become lightweight champion but he feels McGregor isn’t even close to the toughest opponent he could face at 155 pounds.

“I’m just getting better as time goes on,” Lee said. “If he wants to delay it — the boy should have caught me a couple of years ago when I was still young and dumb. If he wants to make the same mistake, do your thing.”

Of course, McGregor is not only the lightweight champion but he’s also the biggest draw in the sport so facing him also guarantees more exposure for his opponents.

That just doesn’t concern Lee right now, especially considering McGregor’s focus on facing Diaz for a third time rather than fighting the true No. 1 contender in the lightweight division.

If McGregor wants to wait for Diaz in 2018, Lee is happy to dispatch Ferguson at UFC 216 and then face undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year with the interim title up for grabs.

“What he’s making in his pocket ain’t really gonna take anything out of mine,” Lee said. “I’m still gonna make the same amount of money. I’m going to go out, I’m going to defend versus Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. I’m taking on the toughest challenges. I’m doing his dirty work for him.”

Listen to the Fight Society podcast here or download and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.