Read about Kevin Lee’s highly-anticipated return to the UFC and his motivation to prove himself once again. Get insights on his upcoming fight against Rinat Fakhretdinov and the potential impact on the welterweight division.
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Kevin Lee’s UFC Comeback
This weekend’s UFC Fight Night event boasts a number of intriguing matchups and storylines, one of which is a significant return to the Octagon. Kevin Lee, who competed for the interim lightweight title in 2017 against Tony Ferguson and has defeated the likes of Edson Barboza and Michael Chiesa, will be back under the UFC banner on Saturday after a period away from the promotion. “The Motown Phenom” was surprisingly released in 2021 following a unanimous decision defeat to Daniel Rodriguez, a setback that came over a year on from a loss at the hands of then-future champion Charles Oliveira. Despite only competing once outside mixed martial arts’ premier promotion, a victory on the scorecards over veteran Diego Sanchez in the Eagle FC cage, Lee was re-signed towards the start of this year. After a decent wait for his comeback fight to be booked, Lee will make the walk once again on July 1 in pursuit of his first UFC victory since 2019.
Lee Motivated By Fighting Ambitions
In the early days of his UFC career, Lee was widely branded a future star and a leading contender in the promotion. While “The Motown Phenom” has suffered a somewhat diminishing reputation in recent years, his brother Keith has found fame courtesy of actions outside the cage. During UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Magomedov media day on Wednesday, Lee acknowledged his sibling’s success, and noted that it’s reassured him of a possible career outside of fighting. But for now, the 30-year-old Detroit native has his sights set on something more important than notoriety. “I honestly don’t care too much about the attention no more. I had that, I’ve seen what it was like, I don’t really care too much about it,” Lee said. “It’s a messed up world that we live in. If I’m sitting up here and I got 10 million followers, you listen to my words a little different than if I’ve got 100… It’s about what’s inside of them, and what’s in their heart. “This thing is in me. It’s not on me, somebody didn’t give it to me. I know who I am,” Lee continued. “I can be a superstar anywhere I go, in any industry, and I’ve thought about that in the last year or so. But fighting is just in me, it’s in my heart. I’ve got unproved and unfinished business over here that I’ve gotta get to.”
The Challenge Ahead: Rinat Fakhretdinov
If he’s to begin his journey back towards UFC gold, Lee will need to stall the charge of the in-form Rinat Fakhretdinov. “Gladiator” boasts an impressive 20-1 professional record and is currently riding a 19-fight winning run. With that, a victory for Lee this weekend would likely put the welterweight division on notice.