Last December in the final UFC on Fox (UFC on Fox 31), Al Iaquinta defeated Kevin Lee for the second time via unanimous decision. Kevin Lee maintains to this day that he believed he was the rightful winner of the contest. Kevin Lee scored the first three rounds to himself and believes that his lax mentality in the final two rounds were his undoing.
In a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, however, Kevin Lee stated that his underperformance in those final two rounds are mostly attributable to poor coaching from his corner:
“I thought I could have made adjustments in the corner, especially…especially going into that fifth round,” Lee said. “I thought the 4th round was probably his best, where I took my foot off the gas, thinking that I had the first three in the bag. And there was no adjustment in my corner to tell me to go out there and for sure win this fifth round. And that’s what should have happened.”
Kevin Lee did not let himself off the hook for his part in coming up short, of course. He acknowledges that a fighter at his level and the level he hopes to achieve will need to address his mindset if he wants to be a champion. However, he still puts the bulk of the blame on the cornering he received:
“If I’m really looking at it from a competitive standpoint, I’ve gotta fight with that championship mindset all the time. And I said it before the fight, the only thing that was gonna beat me was myself. And I think once my mental catches up with my physical, then nobody’s gonna be able to stop me. And just in that fight, the fifth round I thought was a little bit of a mental lapse, especially in my corner.”
Kevin Lee was then asked if he would change his corner ahead of his next fight, to which he was undecided.
What are your thoughts on Kevin Lee attributing his loss to Al Iaquinta at UFC on Fox 31 in large part to his cornering?