UFC's Kevin Lee asks for former champion Pettis on Nurmagomedov-McGregor card

Lee explains why he wants to fight Pettis (1:41)

Kevin Lee shares his conversation with GSP and details why he wants to fight Anthony Pettis in front of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. (1:41)

LAS VEGAS -- UFC lightweight Kevin Lee wants a spot on the promotion's blockbuster UFC 229 event on Oct. 6 at T-Mobile Arena and has already asked the UFC for a specific opponent.

Lee (17-3) told ESPN on Monday he met with UFC matchmakers late last week and requested an Oct. 6 matchup against former champion Anthony Pettis. According to Lee, the UFC was receptive to the idea and he's hoping to hear something this week.

"I think the UFC likes the fight," Lee told ESPN. "Apparently, there are two more spots on that UFC 229 card. They are trying to find, see where everyone settles. Tony Ferguson is still out there. There are some moving parts, but that's the fight that makes sense."

UFC 229 figures to be the biggest card of the year, as it's headlined by a lightweight title fight between undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) and Conor McGregor (21-3). Lee, who is originally from Detroit, also trains out of Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, Lee tried to draw Georges St-Pierre into a 165-pound catchweight fight, but the former two-weight champion didn't take the bait. Lee says he and St-Pierre actually spoke on the phone, and St-Pierre made it clear he wants the winner of Nurmagomedov-McGregor.

"I get his reason for not taking a fight against me," Lee said. "I'm a big risk and not much reward. I get it. I'll move past it.

"That said, I kind of took it a little bit as disrespect. I took it as a little bit of a challenge, that he doesn't see me as worth his time. I'll make my point. If I have to show how good I am again, and Anthony Pettis has to be the victim of it, then I'll beat the f--- out of Anthony Pettis."

Although St-Pierre would have been his No. 1 target, Lee says he's very excited by a potential Pettis fight. Earlier in his career, Lee did some training alongside Pettis at his home gym of Roufusport in Milwaukee.

Lee, 25, says he would welcome the chance to see how he and Pettis "stack up" after several years of development. Regardless, however, Lee says he has started camp in Vegas and will be ready to go on Oct. 6, even if the UFC doesn't find him an opponent.

"I'm the best lightweight out there, for sure," Lee said. "Not only that, but I'm getting better and better. I'm constantly looking to improve myself. That's why I've even stayed out of the media for bit, I've been working on my skills. Whatever the UFC decides, I'm going to be ready to go on Oct. 6, ready to make that weight, even if they don't find me an opponent."

According to Lee, the UFC has brought up the idea of a move to welterweight. Lee missed weight for his last bout, a TKO stoppage over Edson Barboza in April -- although he has pointed out it was the first time in his UFC career doing so.

Lee says he never really entertained the idea, and believes it's actually more a move by the UFC to protect one of its assets.

"They said that just because they're trying to push me out of the division," Lee said. "They're trying to keep me away from the Russian [Nurmagomedov] boy for as long as possible. I've been calling him out for years. I get it, they have a big market in Russia they want to push into, and I'm bad for that business.

"They'll try to spin it and say it's about my health, but at the end of the day, if you put me and Khabib on a scale right now, I'm lighter than the guy. I'm lighter than a lot of guys fighting at 155."