Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov's promotion Eagle Fight Club made a splash today signing former UFC title challenger Kevin Lee to a multi-fight deal.
MMA journalist Ariel Helwani was the first to report the news of Lee's signing, with the promotion confirming it themselves via today's press conference in Miami, Florida for their Eagle FC 44 event on January 28. The 29-year old Grand Rapids, Michigan native said the following about his feelings on joining Nurmagomedov's promotion and how he still has plans to become a world champion one day.
“It’s amazing. Walking into this building feels like a fresh start,” Lee said (h/t MMA Junkie). “I could feel like a new energy. And to be around a great champion and great champions in the past and try to follow in their footsteps, I feel like it’s big shoes to fill, and I’m here to do that. I’ll be the first 165-pound world champion. It’ll feel nice to make a little piece of history for mixed martial arts.”
On top of announcing the addition of Lee to the promotion's roster, Nurmagomedov also revealed that Eagle FC will be introducing two new weight classes with a 165-pound and 175-pound division. He said the following to ESPN's Brett Okamoto about the thought process behind bringing the two new divisions to his promotion.
"It's going to be big news for a lot of fighters around the world," Nurmagomedov said. "I know a lot of fighters want 165. A lot of fighters can't make 155 and they are a little small at 170. Honestly, this is not only about Kevin Lee. This is about a lot of fighters. I know because when I was a fighter, how I was feeling in there and I was talking with a lot of fighters around the world, they were asking, 'Why other promotions -- UFC, Bellator, PFL -- why they not make 165?'"