The former lightweight championship contender Kevin Lee informed ESPN on Monday that he would be returning to the UFC.
A little over a year after the company dismissed him from his contract, Lee, 30, claims he has reached an exclusive agreement with the UFC. Although Lee has not made plans to return to the Octagon, he anticipates doing so in spring.
In October 2017, Lee (19-7) competed against Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title of the UFC, but lost by submission in the third round. After the defeat, he went on a 2-5 streak that ended with his dismissal from the organisation in late 2021.
“I’ve done all this s*** for y’all,” he said. “I’ve put myself and my body on the line just to end up with an alcohol problem and a tax problem, and at the end of the day, you take my respect away from me, too? It’s like OK, well s***. I’m going to stop right there.” he had said back then.
Kevin Lee and UFC are now in good terms
At the time of his departure, Lee expressed dissatisfaction with the UFC, but the two parties have since patched things up. Earlier this year, he also looked for a new management group and joined Dominance MMA and renowned manager Ali Abdelaziz.
“I met with [president] Dana White and [chief business officer] Hunter Campbell, and I feel like I’m going back home,” Kevin Lee told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “I’m grateful for them welcoming me back and looking forward to the next chapter of my career.”
Lee fought only once in 2022. In Eagle FC, a competition run by the recently retired MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, he prevailed over Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision. Lee indicated interest in joining the PFL during an earlier this year but he ultimately decided to join the UFC again.
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