The Motown Phenom aka Kevin Lee once heralded as a top lightweight (155lbs), was never able to achieve the success we were told he would in that division. Lee has been a proponent for a 165-pound division feeling that he could be successful there because it was more natural for him at that weight. Since the UFC doesn’t have that weight class he moved up to17Olbs ( Welterweight) and was dispatched rather easily by Rafael Dos Anjos.
With 0 wins in the welterweight division, Lee now moves back to lightweight and will take on Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 in New York City.
Lee, who has never been afraid to talk about himself to anybody who is willing to listen, is now chirping about the welterweight division and what he feels is a lack of movement or excitement there. Citing those reasons as the determining factors for the drop back to lightweight.
“It was a lot of factors,” Lee told MMA Junkie of his decision. “Lightweight was starting to get a lot more momentum going, especially after the way Khabib (Nurmagomedov) beat Dustin (Poirier) the way that he did, and there’s so many moving parts. Welterweight has kind of gotten a little stagnant. They’re doing this new title now that Masvidal and Diaz are fighting for. It’s kind of a little boy’s title.”
The statement above that he gave to MMA Junkie sounds like an excuse because the welterweight division is anything but stagnant, in fact, it is the exact opposite.
Let’s look at the 2 fighters he mentioned at welterweight, Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. These 2 guys are hotter than they’ve ever been in their careers, that is the reason that they are fighting for a one-off title known as the BMF or Baddest Motherfucker Belt. They are driving the division and created this momentum, and the world is watching, listening and more importantly talking about them and the division. Not exactly my definition of stagnant.
Reigning Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Ben Askren and the rest of the top 10 have all been doing great work in their division, breathing life into it and giving us great fights, which completely negates the commentary of failed welterweight Lee.
Diaz, Masvidal, Covington, and Usman are headlining the next two pay per views UFC244 and UFC245 respectively. Not exactly what you would expect a promotion to do if the division and those in it weren’t exciting or able to draw eyes to their fights.
Could it quite possibly be that Kevin Lee isn’t the fighter we were told he was or the fighter that he thinks he is? Maybe he realized that he can’t hang in the welterweight division not because of 5 pounds but rather that he is just not talented enough or able to deal with bigger more talented guys?
Kevin Lee does have skills, otherwise, he wouldn’t be in the UFC. With that being said, his skill set may never be enough to get him to championship level and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Take a moment and think, how many fighters actually become world champions? Think about how many make it to the UFC, and then you realize that the demographics of those that actually become champions is mighty small.
Lee has now moved to Tristar the place where Georges St. Pierre was forged to try and find his way ahead of his bout at UFC244 vs. the highly touted Gillespie. If Lee loses which I’m predicting he will, he will become nothing more than a gatekeeper which can be profitable but unfulfilling when it comes to career goals.
Kevin Lee, a fighter who believed he would one day be a world champion has not been winning fights in either the lightweight or welterweight division. So maybe, just maybe it isn’t the division that has become stagnant but rather it’s accuser Kevin Lee.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.