It was another tough night on Saturday for Kevin Lee at UFC Rochester. The brash fighter has soaked up the spotlight since his first headline fight against Michael Chiesa back in July of 2017, but with that rise in profile has come a rise in competition as well. Losses to Tony Ferguson and Al Iaquinta convinced Lee it was time to stop killing himself cutting to 155, and that was probably for the best. Unfortunately, his first fight at 170 came against another former top lightweight in Rafael dos Anjos.
Lee started the fight out strong and won the first round with lightning fast strikes and hard pressure. But even without a brutal weight cut, his gas tank just couldn’t sustain his pace. From round two onward dos Anjos gradually took over until an exhausted Lee practically belly flopped off a failed takedown in the fourth round and gave up mount. Moments later, RDA had an arm triangle choke locked in and Lee had lost another tough battle (watch the highlights here).
While there’s definitely lessons to be learned from this loss, Lee’s obvious talent and grit reminded us yet again why the UFC turns to him for main event after main event. But Lee obviously isn’t in the sport to soak up consolation praise. This latest loss has clearly taken a toll on him as is evident in a video statement released on Instagram.
”I don’t know what happened out there tonight,” Lee said in the video. “I thought I did everything right leading up to this fight. Tried to eliminate every little distraction, everything that wasn’t good for me. I swear I felt like everything was falling into place. I was talking to me even before I walked out there, still wasn’t enough.”
”This s**t, sometimes, it’ll be like the highest highs and the lowest lows,” he continued. “This s**t really makes you question what you believe in. I’ve been through a lot of s**t in my life, this really ain’t gonna be s**t.”
”Thank you for the support, I feel I really got some real people behind me now,” he wrote in the post’s caption. “I apologize for not coming through. I’m good, I’m gonna take some time to evaluate everything.”
With this loss, Lee is now 1-3 over his last four. Not that there’s any shame to those losses, but you try telling that to the athlete putting their everything into getting that strap.