Kevin Lee announces his retirement from the UFC

By Susan Cox - July 11, 2023

Kevin Lee has announced his retirement from the UFC.

Kevin Lee

‘The Motown Phenom’ (18-8 MMA) most recently fought Rinat Fakhretdinov (21-1 MMA) on Saturday July 1st in a welterweight bout. The outcome was a submission win for ‘Gladiator’ at 0:55 of Round 1.

Lee, 30, has had a  rough go of it the last few years. In his last 7 fights in the Octagon he has only seen victory twice.

Lee began his career with the UFC back in 2014 and after an initial loss, the fighter won 4 in a row. Another loss at UFC 194 in 2015 was followed by yet another 5 wins in the Octagon. Quite the record for Lee – with 9 wins and only 2 losses in the space of 4 years.

Lee was ultimately cut from the UFC roster in 2021 and signed with Eagle FC in 2022 where he met and defeated Diego Sanchez (30-14 MMA) by unanimous decision in March of 2022.

The fight with Fakhretdinov was to be Lee’s big UFC comeback fight after two years away from the promotion. Unfortunately it was not to be as Lee was choked unconscious in the first round that fateful Saturday night.

Taking to ‘Threads’, Lee shared:

“I’m going to retire from the UFC but I can’t find the right words to use in the video.”

“There’s more to life than fighting.”

During Kevin Lee’s career he has had a several knee injuries which played havoc with his fighting capabilities. The fighter also suffered the loss of his mentor and head coach, Robert Follis, to suicide back in December of 2017.  Lee seemed to struggle with size – being too big for lightweight, yet too small for welterweight.

A sad day in MMA for sure, but Kevin Lee will be remembered for moments like his brutal head kick knockout of Gregor Gillespie (14-1 MMA) at UFC 244 in November of 2019, and his decisive triumphs over Edson Barbosa and Michael Chiesa.

What are your memories of Kevin Lee in the Octagon? Are you surprised at his decision to retire?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!

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Kevin Lee UFC