‘This is Not Only About Kevin Lee’- Khabib Nurmagomedov Says He Has Created a Completely New Weight Division

Published 12/15/2021, 11:02 PM EST
KAZAN, RUSSIA MAY 29, 2021: Sambo coach Esed Emiragayev (L) and tetired MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, who held the UFC Lightweight title from April 2018 to March 2021 (2nd R), attend EFC 36 Eagle Fighting Championship at Tatneft Arena in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images)


Former UFC champion turned MMA promoter, Khabib Nurmagomedov spoke to Brett Okamoto from ESPN about his new venture, Eagle FC. Nurmagomedov is looking to expand his MMA organization to the U.S and he has some massive expansion plans in store. One such plan will be the inclusion of the 165-pound weight class, a revolutionary change in MMA.

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Several marquee MMA promotions like UFC, Bellator, etc have refrained from setting up a 165-pound division. However, it has been the need of the hour for a while now considering the 15-pound gap that exists between lightweight and welterweight. It seems as though Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC has decided to be the first to bring such a massive change.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC signs Kevin Lee

Khabib Nurmagomedov announced the acquisition of Kevin Lee along with the unveiling of a new weight class. Chiefly, it’s fitting that both these factors play out together since Kevin Lee has always been vocal about a 165-pound weight class. However, Nurmagomedov clarified that the change was implemented to benefit not only Lee, but other fighters as well.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 17: Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts after teammate Islam Makhachev’s victory against Thiago Moises in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)|GettyImages

“We sign him [Kevin Lee] and we make new division 165. I think it’s going to be big news for a lot of fighters around the world. I know many fighters they want 165 because there’s a lot of fighters who cannot make 155 and they little bit small for 170…. Now we’re going to move 165, 175, 185.”

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“This is not only about Kevin Lee, this is about a lot of fighters. 15 pounds between like 155 and 170 is a little bit big. I know when I was fighter how it was feeling… we’re going to be first and I think a lot of fighters are going to be happy with us.”

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The aforementioned move is massive for the MMA world given the magnitude of fighters who want a new weight class. Kevin Lee will most certainly benefit from this change considering his long-standing difficulty in finding the weight class that works for him. It remains to be seen if other MMA promotions follow suit with the installation of a 165-pound weight class.

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Darryl Pinto

2133 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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