Former interim title contender Kevin Lee has announced his retirement following a loss at UFC on ESPN 48. Lee retired following a brief hiatus, falling to Rinat Fakhretdinov via technical submission in the first round.
UFC Title Contender Kevin Lee Announces His Retirement
For Kevin Lee, now is the time to move on from fighting and the UFC.
Lee, a one-time interim title challenger, announced his retirement following a loss at UFC on ESPN 48 recently. He was submitted by Rinat Fakhretdinov in the first round after being locked in a guillotine choke.
“To make a long story short, I’m deciding to retire from MMA and the UFC. It’s been 12 years, 12 long years of me being the best fighter I can be, and a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication to trying to be the best fighter in the world. When I look back on it, I had a hell of a career, I fought a lot of tough guys, some of the toughest guys in the world, I always put up a fight, I never backed down, and always challenged myself to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of doing.
“The last three years have been rough, especially on my body. It’s been a lot of injuries, and honestly that’s one of the main factors of me making this decision: I’m in need of another surgery after that last fight.
“I’m proud that I went out on my shield, I’m proud that I stood up in there and went out on my own terms, but at this point, I’ve got to think about more than just myself, and I think that my skills and the time and the energy that I’ve put into this sport, I can put into something else and God willing, all glory to God, he’s going to lead me down a different path, the right path, where I can use my skills to help people. I think if I dedicate myself and give just as much hard work to doing something else, the sky’s the limit.
“So again, I hold my head up high. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to but I’m proud of myself for this career that I’ve had and I appreciate everybody who has given two f****s about me and everybody who has supported me. Even the people that kind of doubted and hated along the way, I appreciate everybody. It’s been a hell of a journey. I’m still young, I still capable of doing a lot in this life and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Kevin Lee Fought For Interim UFC Lightweight Title
A 30-year-old from Michigan, Lee squared off with Tony Ferguson back in 2017 for the interim lightweight title, losing via third round submission. He returned a year later and stopped Edson Barboza, but missed weight.
Back-to-back defeats, including one at welterweight, to Al Iaquinta and Rafael dos Anjos followed.
Last year after losses to Charles Oliveira and Daniel Rodriguez, Lee fought Diego Sanchez for Eagle FC. He missed weight for the Oliveira fight and tested positive for a banned substance vs. Rodriguez.