A year-and-a-half after he was released from the UFC, Kevin Lee now finds himself back in the promotion after signing a new one-year deal.
The 30-year-old Lee had earned an interim lightweight title shot during his first run in the UFC after compiling a 9-2 run in his first three years there.
However, Lee’s submission loss to Tony Ferguson in that title bid was the start of a rough spell for ‘The Motown Phenom’ that would see him lose five of his next seven fights.
In addition to that Lee also then tested positive for Adderall, which led to a six-month suspension. At the time Lee claimed that he’d taken it due to recently having been diagnosed with ADHD, but soon after the UFC opted to release him.
Lee went on to sign a four-fight deal with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC promotion and made his debut in March of last year, earning a unanimous decision victory over Diego Sanchez.
However, with opportunities to fight for Eagle FC having dried up, Lee claimed at the start of this year that he was essentially now a free agent and had expressed an interest in fighting for PFL, while also talking down the chances of him returning to the UFC.
“I would almost be hurting my leverage if I was just to straight go back with the UFC right now,” Lee had told ESPN.
“So it’s something that I’m kind of interested (in), but it would have to be the right offer, it’d have to be the right fight, it’d have to be something other than just to say I’m a UFC fighter. I’ve been there and done that. That doesn’t do that much for me. A million dollars sounds a whole lot better.”
Despite that, Lee recently posted a photo alongside Dana White leading to speculation that he was going to return after all, and he now seems to have warmed up to the idea.
“I met with [president] Dana White and [chief business officer] Hunter Campbell, and I feel like I’m going back home,” Lee told ESPN in a new statement. “I’m grateful for them welcoming me back and looking forward to the next chapter of my career.”