Kevin Lee has announced his retirement from MMA at just 30-years-old after an unsuccessful comeback fight in the UFC this past weekend in Las Vegas.
Lee had been returning to action on the UFC 290 preliminary card against Rinat Fakhretdinov two years after he’d been released from the promotion following a disappointing run of results that had seen him lose four of his last five fights.
The former lightweight interim title challenger went on to fight once for Eagle FC back in March of last year, earning a unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez, before then being offered the chance to return to the UFC earlier this year.
His comeback fight went badly though, with Fakhretdinov submitting him in just 55 seconds to extend his UFC winning streak to 3 fights.
In the aftermath of the fight ‘The Motown Phenom’ has announced that it’s time for him to hang up his gloves, indicating that a series of injury woes in recent years together with a desire to pursue other career paths led him to his decision.
“To make a long story short, I’m deciding to retire from MMA and the UFC,” Lee wrote on Instagram. “It’s been 12 years, 12 long years of me being the best fighter I can be, and a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication to trying to be the best fighter in the world. When I look back on it, I had a hell of a career, I fought a lot of tough guys, some of the toughest guys in the world, I always put up a fight, I never backed down, and always challenged myself to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of doing. The last three years have been rough, especially on my body. It’s been a lot of injuries, and honestly that’s one of the main factors of me making this decision: I’m in need of another surgery after that last fight.
“I’m proud that I went out on my shield, I’m proud that I stood up in there and went out on my own terms, but at this point, I’ve got to think about more than just myself, and I think that my skills and the time and the energy that I’ve put into this sport, I can put into something else and God willing, all glory to God, he’s going to lead me down a different path, the right path, where I can use my skills to help people. I think if I dedicate myself and give just as much hard work to doing something else, the sky’s the limit.
“So again, I hold my head up high. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to but I’m proud of myself for this career that I’ve had and I appreciate everybody who has given two f****s about me and everybody who has supported me. Even the people that kind of doubted and hated along the way, I appreciate everybody. It’s been a hell of a journey. I’m still young, I still capable of doing a lot in this life and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Lee bows out of the sport with a 19-8 career record, having spent the majority of his career in the UFC with his biggest wins coming against the likes of Edson Barboza, Michael Chiesa, Francisco Trinaldo and Gregor Gillespie.