Kevin Lee is leaning towards retirement.
The former title challenger re-signed with the UFC earlier this year after a brief one-fight stint in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC. Lee booked his return at UFC Vegas 76, where he would face off against Russia’s top prospect Rinat Fakhretdinov.
Lee To Retire After Unsuccessful Return
This marked Lee’s first fight in the Octagon in two years. But unfortunately for Lee, his welcome back party wouldn’t be much of a party at all as Fakhretdinov took just under a minute to submit ‘The Motown Phenom’ with a guillotine choke.
Following the defeat, it looks like Lee will be hanging up the gloves for good.
“I’m going to retire from the UFC but I can’t find the right words to use in the video,” Lee revealed on his TikTok.
“To make a long story short, I’m deciding to retire from MMA and the UFC. It’s been 12 years, 12 long years of me being the best fighter I can be, and a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication to trying to be the best fighter in the world. When I look back on it, I had a hell of a career, I fought a lot of tough guys, some of the toughest guys in the world, I always put up a fight, I never backed down, and always challenged myself to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of doing. The last three years have been rough, especially on my body. It’s been a lot of injuries, and honestly that’s one of the main factors of me making this decision: I’m in need of another surgery after that last fight.
“I’m proud that I went out on my shield, I’m proud that I stood up in there and went out on my own terms, but at this point, I’ve got to think about more than just myself, and I think that my skills and the time and the energy that I’ve put into this sport, I can put into something else and God willing, all glory to God, he’s going to lead me down a different path, the right path, where I can use my skills to help people. I think if I dedicate myself and give just as much hard work to doing something else, the sky’s the limit.
“So again, I hold my head up high. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to but I’m proud of myself for this career that I’ve had and I appreciate everybody who has given two f****s about me and everybody who has supported me. Even the people that kind of doubted and hated along the way, I appreciate everybody. It’s been a hell of a journey. I’m still young, I still capable of doing a lot in this life and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Lee (Briefly) Explains Why He’s Retiring
The 30 year-old UFC veteran wouldn’t put his retirement plan into detail, but he did follow it up just once in a reply to a critic.
“There’s more to life than fighting,” Lee wrote.
Career And Resume
Lee has competed with some of the best fighters in the world, nearly capturing the UFC interim lightweight championship against Tony Ferguson back in 2017. To add on to his resume, the Detroit-native has fought former UFC Champions in the past such as Charles Oliveira and Rafael Dos Anjos.
Some of Lee’s biggest wins in the Octagon came over the likes of Michael Chiesa, Edson Barboza, and Gregor Gillespie.
In his life outside of fighting, Lee recently became a father and also converted to Islam in the past year.
Is Kevin Lee really retiring from the fight game?