Kevin Lee had lost two of his last three fights at lightweight prior to making the decision to move up to welterweight. Bound for a fresh start, Kevin Lee entered the Octagon against Rafael dos Anjos last month at UFC Rochester with renewed confidence and a new sense of purpose. But before the fourth round came to a close, Lee was once again on the losing end for now the third time and four fights. In a recent interview with The Body Lock MMA, Kevin Lee reflected on the range of emotions prior to and following the fight:
“The result wasn’t exactly what I wanted, and I was upset at myself for a few days,” Lee said. “In terms of what went wrong, everything in the lead-up was clicking in an almost eerie way.
“Before the fight in the locker room, I was seeing certain things. You know when you’re on your way to work, and you hit every green light. It was kind of like that type of feeling I was having. I felt like everything was coming together right, and my confidence was boosting up so much. The warm-up was perfect; everything was perfect. So when it didn’t go my way, it was discouraging. I didn’t know necessarily what I was doing wrong.”
Fighters who move up to a new weight class often find themselves surprised by the power differential when confronted with the strength of a larger opponent than they have become accustomed to. But in Kevin Lee’s case, it was not the physicality of Rafael dos Anjos that took him by surprise:
“What surprised me was how smart he was. He beat me tactically more than anything,” Lee admitted. When I was going, he wasn’t doing. He’s letting me burn out my energy then he took his moment when I made the last mistake.”
But if you think this initial setback for Kevin Lee at 170 will drive him back down to 155, you would be mistaken. When asked if he is 100% committed to remaining at 170, Lee did not give a 100% answer, but it was still firmly in the affirmative: “Yeah I think so,” Lee said. “I think it’s right.”
Do you believe Kevin Lee should remain in the welterweight division?