Kevin Lee Explains How He Came To Retirement Decision

Kevin Lee retired from MMA following his recent loss to Rinat Fakhretdinov in his UFC comeback fight, and in a new interview he explains why he came to that decision.

The 32-year-old Lee had already hinted that injury issues were a part of his decision, and in the interview he reveals that he needs to undergo surgery for an ongoing ACL issue.

“My knees have just been giving me hell for three years now,” Lee told Submission Radio. “The hardest thing before this was weight-cutting, right? Me going up to 170 kind of alleviated that but I’ve never had to deal with this type of injury before.

“I don’t move the same. I’m not moving at the same speed as I was before. I had to take it easy the whole camp then try to turn it on during the fight and honestly, I just wasn’t ready for that speed. My body is just not — my knees are not prepared. I’ve got a torn ACL. I’ve had it since that Diego Sanchez fight. I decided not to get the surgery after the Diego Sanchez fight and just strengthen it and fight on it. But it’s pretty obvious and clear that I need to have surgery on it.”

Lee went to say that in hindsight he actually feels he should have retired after his submission loss to Charles Oliveira over three years ago in March of 2020.

“If I’m really being honest, it’s something I’ve been thinking about since I fought Charles Oliveira. Even Firas Zahabi will tell you, sometimes when you get done with a fight and you walk into the back, sometimes you have moments like, ‘What the f*** did I just do? What’re we doing? This is crazy, right?’ After that fight, I had a different type of feeling to it and part of me wants to post the post-fight interview that I did for that fight where I kind of told them I wanted to take a few years off, and honestly, I probably should have retired right then and there. But it was just that this is what I’d been doing for so long, this is where I put all of my heart and soul into that I just kind of double downed and made sure that this is what I was gonna do.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.