Kevin Lee has lost three of his last four fights, with one of those being at welterweight and the rest at lightweight. Now with his return to 170lb imminent, he believes that he is already worthy of being at the top of this division.
At one time considered a future champion in the lightweight division, it has been a tough road for Lee over the last few years. He has had highs and lows, but has not competed in about a year and a half, ahead of his return to welterweight to face short notice replacement Daniel Rodriguez on August 28th.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani, Kevin made it clear that even though he is 0-1 as a UFC welterweight, and has not been on a winning streak since 2017, he is a top contender at 170lb. He says that there are no real challenges for champ Kamaru Usman, so if he can put together a good win or two, he could be fast tracked to the title.
“I feel like I’m already top five, so this is going to be one of those fights to show the difference in what I’ve got,” Lee said.
“I’ve been watching the whole time and I see nobody around here. I see nobody that can bring what I bring to the table. I see nobody that’s got the skills that I’ve got, and can do everything in a complete package. I don’t see none of them, so yeah, it’s me.
“(Usman) is a great champ. He’s a great champ, I’ll give it to him. But I don’t think he’s really been challenged by anybody, and I’m here to give him that challenge,” Lee continued.
“Leon (Edwards) is not really up there. Colby (Covington’s) going to put up a good fight. Leon will make a good fight, but he don’t bring the complete package. He might bring some decent fighting skills, but it takes more than that in this game, I feel like… There’s some big names, yeah some decent names. But they don’t do s—t.”
Kevin Lee Heard About Daniel Rodriguez
In his return to welterweight, Kevin Lee was expected to face Sean Brady, until a staph infection forced Brady out. Now he will be taking on Daniel Rodriguez, who is 5-1 in the UFC and is fresh off of two straight wins.
Kevin said that he was not initially familiar with Daniel, only recognizing him for his brazen chest tattoo. However he then heard about Rodriguez’s legendary street and jail fighting career, and has a lot more respect for his new opponent.
“I was a little disappointed at first, but there’s two things. One, I’m the one who’s the name on the card. I would’ve made Sean Brady’s name, and I feel like I’m going to make Rodriguez’s name,” Lee said.
“So the name part didn’t really bother me, I just wanted a good fight. But I felt better about the fight once people started calling me about it, and a lot of people that I know in the street, that had heard of this dude before, from all his time in prison and all the different street fights and stuff that he’s had, I put a lot of respect on that.
“I feel like people kind of overlook that a little bit, but I respect 200 street fights, just as much as I would respect 200 amateur boxing matches. I feel like those are even closer to MMA fights. So I feel like he’s got a lot of experience and he’s going to put up a good fight,” Lee added.
Kevin Lee will be facing Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 35, this weekend. Time will tell how he will do at welterweight, but this is a great way to reintroduce himself to the division.