Even though he is just 28 years old, Kevin Lee appears to have reached a crossroads in his mixed martial arts career.
“The Motown Phenom” lost for the fourth time in five outings at UFC on ESPN 30, dropping a unanimous decision to Daniel Rodriguez in his 170-pound debut on Saturday. Earlier in his promotional tenure, Lee looked like a star on the rise as he won nine of his first 11 appearances before falling to Tony Ferguson in an interim lightweight title bout at UFC 216 in October 2017. The loss to Rodriguez was Lee’s first bout since March 2020 after undergoing surgery on both of his knees.
“Didn't have a good performance this last time out but honestly after 500 days away and multiple surgeries, I'm proud of what I was able to do,” Lee wrote on Instagram. “I tried climbing a very tall mountain and this was just another speed-bump on the way. My best performances are ahead of me and I know that. I don't care if I have to bump my head to get there I won't stop until I figure this s—t out. I'm still competing with the best in the world and won't hang my head just yet.”
Where it once seemed that a UFC championship was in his future, Lee has instead been one of the most inconsistent talents in the Las Vegas-based promotion. The Tristar Gym member remained defiant after his latest setback and had a few choice words for his critics in the post.
“If you have something negative to say, f-k you from bottom of my heart. F-k all the hate, [y’all] can burn in hell. And thank you to everyone who has reached out with love. I'm not done yet. Not at all.”