Javier Mendez Questions Kevin Lee’s Focus Following Failed UFC Comeback: ‘Who Cares Where You’re Fighting?!’

The former coach of Khabib Nurmagomedov shared his thoughts on Kevin Lee's lackluster return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 76.

Mendez Talks Kevin Lee
Mendez Talks Kevin Lee - Image credit @motownphenom Instagram @JavierMendez Youtube

Renowned MMA coach Javier Mendez called the focus of Kevin Lee into question following the one-time interim title contender’s failed comeback inside The APEX on Saturday night.

‘The Motown Phenom’ hoped to make a statement in his return at UFC Vegas 76. Unfortunately, things did not go well for Lee as the once highly-touted lightweight standout found himself on the wrong side of a guillotine choke less than a minute into his featured prelim bout with Rinat Fakhretdinov. The contest was officially called at the 55-second mark after Lee lost consciousness. 

Going into the contest, Kevin Lee seemed more interested in talking about anything, except his undeniably dangerous opponent. During a pre-fight media appearance, Lee shared his displeasure with fighting inside the small confines of The APEX in Las Vegas and even decided to take a shot at former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has been retired from the sport since 2021. With his lack of focus on the task at hand, few were surprised to see Lee dispatched in his not-so-triumphant return.

Speaking about Lee’s lackluster comeback, Javier Mendez suggested that ‘The Motown Phenom’ put more of his focus on taking care of business inside of the Octagon. 

“For me, it’s like some of the warning signs when Kevin was talking about, ‘I’m beyond these little shows at The APEX.’ His attitude was like, ‘I’m past this,’ and to me, your focus should have been winning [against] your opponent and other comments were about Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. ‘I saw holes in his game’ and blah, blah, blah,” Mendez said on his podcast

“I’m just like, dude, you should be more focused on your fight. Forget anybody else. Forget anybody in particular and just focus on yours because everybody was dying to see what you were going to do. Especially at welterweight. A more natural weight and he looked very strong as a welterweight. I just think that he got caught. Was it because he wasn’t focused enough on his opponent or he overlooked his opponent? I don’t know. I have no idea. I just know that what he was doing he shouldn’t have been doing.

It shouldn’t have even came up about not fighting at The APEX. It should have never came up and also against anybody else. It should have never came up. He should have been solely focused on his job at hand and to beat a really tough opponent.”

Javier Mendez Believes Kevin Lee Could Still Be a Legitimate Contender in the UFC

Kevin Lee was once considered one of the brightest prospects in the lightweight division, amassing an impressive 9-1 record en route to an interim title opportunity against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216. Lee came up short in his lone title bid and has since struggled both in the cage and on the scale. ‘The Motown Phenom’ dropped four out of his next six fights after his scrap with ‘El Cucuy’ and failed to make weight on two separate occasions. The final straw came in 2021 when Lee tested positive for Adderall. 

Once released by the UFC, it didn’t take long for Lee to land another gig, signing with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC. Lee made one appearance for the promotion, securing a unanimous decision win over another ex-UFC staple, Diego Sanchez. Failing to secure a second fight with Eagle FC, Lee was welcomed back to the UFC but immediately rubbed fight fans the wrong way with his incessant complaints over competing at a smaller-scale event.

“Who cares where you’re fighting? You’re getting paid to fight and you should be focused more on winning because if you don’t win, nothing else is anything,” Mendez continued. 

Despite his struggles inside the cage, Mendez believes there is plenty of time for Kevin Lee to turn things around and become a legitimate contender following his move to welterweight.

“He’s still young. He’s only 30 years old. He could still make a comeback. He’s healthy. He could still become a threat in the division 100%. He just needs to stay more focused on what he needs to do. The now and the present.” 

Published on July 5, 2023 at 1:36 pm
Stay up-to-date with the latest MMA news, rumors, and updates by following the RED Monster on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, don't forget to add MiddleEasy to your Google News feed Follow us on Google News for even more coverage.


Leave a Comment