Kevin Lee Explains Decision to Move Up to Welterweight

Kevin Lee reacts Weigh-in
Image Credit: Dave Mandel of Sherdog.com

Kevin Lee will be making his welterweight debut against Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Rochester on May 18, but Kevin Lee was resistant to the idea of moving up for the longest time prior to finally making the link. So why now? Kevin Lee attributions his decision to stagnation and politics in the lightweight division (transcript via MMA Fighting):

“A lot of (the lightweight division) kinda went stagnant, which is a real shame,” Lee said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I mean, it’s always been one of the best divisions in the UFC. There’s just so many ups and so many questions. And part of me was like, this is where I said I wanted to be, and this is where I started and where I’m gonna finish, especially with fighting Khabib. But when I looked at it, like, okay, I’m not going to sit around and wait.

“It’s too many politics going on. Like you said, Max is now fighting Dustin, Tony’s sitting out — which, I’m sad about that whole situation — and all these other things, and nobody wants to fight, and guys only want these certain fights just to push them up, and Conor’s kinda calling the shots still. And I’m like, you know what, f*ck all of this. I’m mostly worried about me anyway. To me, I’m the top dog. So it’s what’s best for my career and going forward.”

But even though Kevin Lee is taking the lunge up to 170, that does not mean he is permanently saying farewell to the light heavyweight division:

“Those fights are still going to be out there,” continued Lee. “I still am 100 percent confident I can make 155 again, but we’ll see after. I prefer this fight at 170; 155, they need to get their shit together. That’s all. I think it’ll come together towards the end of this year, but I wasn’t about to sit around and wait for them.”

Do you believe Kevin Lee should make the welterweight division or the lightweight division his primary home?