UFC lightweight Kevin Lee “Nate Diaz is garbage if you watch him fight”

UFC lightweight Kevin Lee is coming off an impressive first round submission victory over James Moontasri at UFC Fight Night 71, which improved his winning streak to four straight. Lee (11-1) caught up with MMAOddsBreaker on Episode 116 of The Parting Shot Podcast and discussed a variety of topics. Moontasri win most impressive of his career?  “I don’t think so; I actually think I had better fights. Fights that I wasn’t supposed to win, where I was the big underdog. That fight, I went out and did what I was supposed to do. I felt that I was on the next level. When I was 1-0 I fought Mansour Barnaoui who was 7-0 as a pro and nobody pegged me to win that fight [and] I went out there and did it.”   Best message following his win  “The best message I got was from my old coach and I have to give him a lot of praise because he gave me my start in the game. My old coach over in Grand Rapids where I started my pro career at, he was in the crowd and he came to the fight. He went over and talked to my dad for a little bit. He was saying that he was going to bum rush the cage so that he could lift me into the air after the win. I think that was the best message, because he’s still one of my best friends.”   FOX accidentally keying his graphic as James Moontasri at UFC Fight Night 71  “Yeah I saw that, racist mothef**ckers [laughs], but you know what I think it was? I blame it on this new era, the whole Reebok, post July 1st deal. A lot of the people who were at UFC San Diego were all new. I never seen them work for the UFC before. I think they said think they had like 5 or 6 new people to replace Burt Watson. To be honest these guys didn’t know what the f**k they were doing. There was a dude there who was like the head guy and didn’t know who Frank Mir was. He’s like calling out for Frank and Frank’s sitting right in front of him 265 pounds, gigantic ass f**cking head and he couldn’t tell who it was. It’s like bro you don’t know the guy who’s headlining the card?  I think they saw a Chinese face and were like ‘eh close enough.'”   Moving to Las Vegas and cross training  “I’ve been [in Las Vegas] for over a year now. It’s been like 100 degrees for like 21 days straight here so I don’t think I’ll be moving back [to Detroit] anytime soon. Mostly I’m with Xtreme Couture and Robert Drysdales. But I also train a lot, especially during off camp, at Mayweathers gym here and Roy Jones Gym. I’m there 3-5 times a week, and then I’m at Xtreme and Drysdales 5-6 times a week, something like that. I do a lot of training at different places, but I keep the same coaches no matter where I go. I’m trying to get away from that whole wrestling mentality. How guys are structuring their camp like it’s a wrestling team, like we got four years to make this happen. I make my camps about me, and the coaches surround me. I bring in the sparring partners, the training partners and my coaches come with me. That’s the way I kind of do it. I don’t do it the whole team aspect; I’m not much of a team player anyways. That’s kind of what’s going on. The thing is that the level training of partners is a lot different. Not only is it high level trainers, I train with Dewy Cooper, K1 champ over at Mayweathers gym, high level pro boxers. I train with high level blackbelts at Drysdales. Its world class and it’s also added a lot to my confidence. I see the way these guys train, some of the other top guys in the division and they don’t train like I do and the things they do I do a little bit better. It’s added a lot to my confidence game. My confidence isn’t from these past couple wins; it’s from the way I train. I see the differences in the way I train and how I do it.”   Why he moved to Las Vegas  “After my fight with Al Iaquinta. I [felt like I] wasn’t training like I should before the fight and he kind of made me realize that. I only trained 3 weeks for the fight, I was overweight, I just wasn’t doing the right things. After that fight, I was done with school I only had one semester left but I was done at that point. I just got in the car and started driving. I just drove west until I hit something and I hit Las Vegas. I already had a couple of connections setup, so I got in, I trained I loved it. So I just stuck around. I called my parents and I was like ‘Put your s**t in the card and come on down’ So that’s kind of how it worked out and it’s worked out for the best.”   Fighter prices “We set the prices. Just like Vegas would have an expert bookie and they closely correlate the odds, because the fact of the matter is there is a favourite and an underdog. The only difference is there is going to be some slight variance; we need to see there isn’t a lot of ties. What second layer skill is involved in fantasy sports is not only do you want to pick an athlete who has a dominant performance but you also want to build a team where you can configure it to pick all the favourites. Almost every card an underdog wins, it’s being able to have the foresight to identify that. Perfect example Jeremy Stephens [at UFC 189] was such an underdog pick, but he ended up doing extremely well. The more you know the sport, the more you can identify someone who is not only an underdog that’s going to be cheap to put on your team, but also someone that you have a really strong feeling is going to win.”   Calling out UFC lightweights  “[I’m] mostly looking for the big name fights if I’m being honest. I want someone who is Top 15, Top 20, somewhere in there. When you’re fighting guys like James Moontasri, Jon Tuck and Michael Prazeres, those are real. I mean they’re tough and world class. But not a lot of people don’t know them because they don’t have a lot of fights yet. So those are high risk fights as well. The only difference is people know who Nate Diaz is. I mean Nate Diaz is garbage if you watch him fight, if you watch him train, he’s garbage. C’mon the dude’s slow, he can’t kick for s**t, and he can’t wrestle. The only thing he’s got, he’ll slap you a couple times, he’s got a reach and he’s a southpaw, that’s the only thing he has going for him. But his cardio’ s shit, I don’t think he can’t wrestle, he can’t kick. If I can’t fight someone like that, hallelujah! That’s an easy fight, easy money and it’s a lot of publicity. If I can get a fight like that I don’t even think he’s fighting anymore. He definitely wouldn’t fight me if he was smart.  Hey if something like that comes along, I’m jumping on it. Honestly, I’m a real guy, when I talk I speak honest. If I was in his position and I had to fight someone 22 year old lion, that was coming up, not a whole lot of people know him, would I do it? I’d would do it but would I want to? Probably not. I don’t blame Michael Johnson for not wanting to fight me; I don’t blame Al Iaquinta for not wanting to fight me again either. It’s just the way of the trade but I’m going to keep sticking my nose in their faces until they have no choice but to either say yes or say no. They can only ignore me for so long. Otherwise I’m going to keep stacking bodies and they have no other choice.”   Walking around at 190 pounds and Weight Cutting  “The weight cut for me it’s gruelling, you know? But I do it. It takes me a long time though, because I do it right. I don’t cut 30 pounds the day before; I do it over a 10 week training camp. Every one of my training camps is either 10 or 12 weeks. It takes me a long time to get down there and then it doesn’t take me that long to get back up. The day after the fight, I’m generally the day of the fight I’m 185 pounds. I’m just a big guy so it takes me a while to really get my diet down. You can only lose 2-3 pounds a week, so it takes me a while to get down there. But once I do, I’m in top shape and peak performance. I think I cut weight the smartest way out of all; I’ve never had a weight cut where I’m dying. Or that I feel it effects my cardio a little bit. I think I got the science right too.”   IV’s being taken away in October  “[Will it affect me?] Yeah probably [laughs] I’ve used them my last three fights and I can definitely feel the difference. It just makes it a little be easier and it makes my job a little bit harder now that they’re banning them. What can I say? Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, it’s part of being a fighter I guess. Sometimes you’re going to get hit and you’ve got to be able to get the hit and keep on moving. So if they ban the IV’s, and not much I can do for it. It’s just going to make it a little harder; those last two pounds are going to be a little bit harder to get off. I’m going to get it done and I handle myself with the professional.”   Having GSP’s former manager, Stephane Patry, as his manager  “Stephane is one of the best managers in the game. There were a lot of people, especially after the Reebok deal that said you don’t need a manager anymore. I think it’s the exact opposite, I need Stephane, he’s just as much as part of the game as my striking coach. He makes everything run smoothly behind the scenes. A lot of the game is mental; every little thing that bears on you takes away from your mental. It’s like a video game character, if you’re at 100%, everything little thing chops away at that percentage. The less things I have to worry about the better. I can just focus 100% on the fight and Stephane does a great job at that. He’s been around the fight game longer than I’ve been alive. It’s great having somebody like that on your team.”   Being a mature 22-year old and temptations in Las Vegas  “I think it’s just the way I grew up; I grew up in the heart of Detroit. We went through it all, I’ve seen so much at such a young age, and it kind of forces you to grow up fast. As far as like the temptations, the partying, the drinking, the smoking and the drugs all that, like I’ve seen what [that can do]. I’ve got family members that have gone through that s**t that were hard-core alcoholics, that I don’t even see to this day. I just saw at a very young age and how it affected them and I always said that wouldn’t be me.  That’s the whole thing; even if I wasn’t fighting I think I would be still successful doing something else because of the drive that I had at a young age to not let that happen to me.  Whatever they were doing, I was going to do the exact opposite. If they were partying all day, I’d do the opposite. I stuck to that motto and it’s done me well. Though college whenever everybody when all my classmates were partying during the weekend I was in the gym or I had a fight. So I think it’s done me well.”   Why he never pursued a football career “I never wanted to be a NFL player because the [Detroit Lions] always sucked.  Especially when I was coming through high school, the Lions were 0-16 or 1-15, so I never got into it.”   Why he’s a Detroit Pistons fan ” I was always a Tayshaun Prince [fan], he’s smooth and he was light skinned. That was the big thing. That’s one of the worst things in the world is growing up light skinned in Detroit. Not a lot of people know that. To grow up light skinned, he was like the light skinned hero, like the Mulatto leader. So I was always a big Tayshaun Prince fan.”   Spending his downtime  “Honestly I love [training] I live breathe and eat fighting, I really do. Some guys say that, but I think a lot of them bullshit. I think the only other person who can say that is McGregor. You see McGregor, he’s outside, and he really does do it. I watch UFC Fight Pass all day, seriously, I break down film. That’s why I fight so often too, after 2 or 3 weeks of eating bad. Not really training hard, like I’m ready to get back into the gym, I’m ready to go. That’s why I have 12 week training camps, that’s why I only take 2-3 weeks in between. I always like to stay busy and ready. My girl also keeps me busy, that’s where of the 15% of the time goes.”   Ideal next opponent and fight  “I would want to fight Eddie Alvarez, coming off that close win over Gilbert Melendez. It would be late October on that Texas card so I can piss off a lot of Mexicans.”   You can follow Kevin on Twitter @MoTownPhenom. You can listen to the full audio version of this interview on Episode 116 of The Parting Shot Podcast below (43 mins in)

Written by James Lynch

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