UFC lightweight competitor Kevin Lee likely won’t be back in the Octagon until late 2020 at best.
“The Motown Phenom” revealed to ESPN that he will undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee on Thursday. Lee is expected to be out a minimum of six months as a result of the injury. The former interim title challenger is taking an optimistic approach to his recovery.
"It used to mean being out a year," Lee told ESPN. "They've gotten better with the technology and the [physical therapy], so it might even be sooner. I don't know.”
Lee last appeared at UFC Fight Night 170, where he was submitted by Charles Oliveira 28 seconds into the third round of the card’s main event. The 27-year-old claims the injury didn’t occur while fighting, though he wouldn’t offer any specifics beyond that.
“[I] was not even doing something that was totally out of the ordinary,” Lee said during a recent appearance on "The Luke Thomas Show” on SiriusXM. “I’m not going to say specifically how it happened because of insurance, you know? But it wasn’t something totally out of the ordinary. I think I may have been affected by this whole virus and s—t more than I think. For some reason, I’ve just been overly fatigued. My body ain’t been feeling great.
“I zigged when I should have zagged. I heard a pop pretty loud, and the next day it swole up to the size of a balloon. Since then, I’ve just been unable to really move it much.”
Lee has lost four of his last six Octagon appearances, a stretch that includes a one-bout stint at 170 pounds.