Former UFC interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee is moving up to welterweight. On May 18, he is set to take on Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Rochester.
Lee explained his decision to jump up a weight class and take on “RDA” during a recent interview.
“Welterweight has become the marquee division,” Lee said (transcript via MMAJunkie). “Lightweight got stagnant for a little bit, and we’re really starting to see some shakers and movers at 170. And, you’re going to count me in on May 18.”
Although the cuts to 155 pounds have proved difficult in the past, Lee isn’t sure if the move to welterweight is permanent.
If his body reacts to the change how he anticipates, Lee is confident he will be able to get past dos Anjos and the entire welterweight division.
“Dos Anjos has never seriously been hurt in a fight, and he’s fought a lot of top guys already,” Lee said. “I’m taking it as a full challenge. We’re both 155, going up to 170. I’ve been focusing on myself. I feel if I show up at 100 percent, completely healthy, there’s not a man that can stop me, so that’s what I’m focused on.”
Ultimately, after losing to Al Iaquinta in his last fight, Lee realizes the move to welterweight couldn’t have come at a better time. Recently, former lightweights in Anthony Pettis and Jorge Masvidal have found big success inside the division.
“I feel that a lot of people have their eye balls on 170 pounds,” Lee said. “This is a fight that really has a lot of attention for me right out the gate. Even more than other big fights I’ve had in the past, so I’m excited for it. It’s a big fight for my future.
“Welterweight is now the marquee division, especially now that I’m in it.”
Do you agree with Kevin Lee that the welterweight division is the marquee division in the UFC? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/29/2019