Lee (15-3), the reigning lightweight champ, has been the recipient of endless callouts from former UFC titleholder Alvarez (30-8). It would be a high profile fight for ONE Championship, but Lee doesn’t think Alvarez is deserving of the opportunity due to his recent record.
On paper, Alvarez has just one win in four fights since joining ONE Championship in March 2019. Alvarez thinks that’s deceptive, though, because he argues he should’ve won the decision in his most recent bout with Rae Yoon Ok, then also feels robbed of a victory in his no contest with Iuri Lapicus one fight prior.
Lee said he’s not buying into all that, though, and doesn’t intend to let Alvarez get the title shot without the results.
“In terms of Eddie, it’s a fight that the company really wanted,” Lee told MMA Junkie Radio. “They wanted to send the ONE champion in to face the former UFC champion, to beat him. I think Eddie’s a great opponent, but he’s on a three-fight losing streak. Aside from his win over Eduard Folayang, he hasn’t won inside the promotion. I know they overturned his fight with Iuri to a no contest because he was making a big deal out of it, but then he went in there with a decision loss to Rae Yoon Ok. As much as people want that fight to happen, it’s not going to happen anytime soon because Eddie hasn’t done anything to prove he’s earned his way up to the top.”
Lee did ease up a bit on his stance, admitted that he’s “never turned down a fight” once the ONE Championship brass send him a bout agreement. That hasn’t happened though yet, he said, and he thinks the organization understands his position.
That position can change, Lee said, but it falls on Alvarez to do the work.
In terms of where the company’s at, I think they want that fight to happen,” Lee said. “But it just doesn’t make sense right now and if he can do his job and win a few more fights over ranked opponents, then sure. I’m all for it. But for now I think he’ just running his mouth over social media because he wants this fight. He’s in a race against time, he’s getting older every day and he’s on a losing streak. He’s hoping he’ll just do a few callouts and to get his way there, but I think it’ll take a bit more time.”
In the meantime, Lee said he sees a viable alternative to Alvarez, and that’s the man who just beat him.
“In my eyes there’s only one real contender who could be worthy for a title shot: That’s Rae Yoon Ok,” Lee said. “Because he beat (Marat) Gafurov, who was No. 5 at the time. (He) took his spot there. Then from there he went on to get a decision win over Eddie Alvarez, so he’d be up there and the only guy who is really deserving of a shot.”
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