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Kevin Lee discusses ‘mistimed’ UFC 216 weight cut, coming back for second attempt

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Kevin Lee seems to be putting his weight-cutting issues behind him, hours out of the biggest fight of his life.

The top UFC lightweight contender needed two attempts Friday morning to reach championship weight for his UFC 216 interim title bout against Tony Ferguson. Lee first weighed in at 156 — one pound over the 155-pound maximum. Due to Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) rules, Lee was given one more hour to reach the mark and he hit it — 154.5 — with just minutes to spare at around 12:15 p.m. local time.

“It’s always a tough weight cut,” Lee told Megan Olivi on the FS1 UFC 216 weigh-in show. “This is my first time in a title fight, so we just mistimed it a little bit. But I feel like a million bucks now, I got some hydration in me. I’m gonna be a bigger, stronger man out there — I always am. Like I said yesterday, I ain’t no bitch. It’s always gonna be a tough weight cut, but I’m gonna get it done.”

Lee, 25, admitted he had a hard time with the situation after missing weight on the first try. Had he quit there, the fight would have gone on, but he would not have been eligible to win the interim title Saturday night in the main event of UFC 216. But because he was within two pounds of the target weight, Lee was able to try again under NAC protocols.

“That weight cut was probably the hardest part of the whole thing,” Lee said. “Now it’s just about me going out there, doing my thing, having fun. Nobody is gonna stop me from winning this championship belt. Even when I was overweight and I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to go back, [but] I got the title I’m about to win. So that’s what I’m gonna go do.”

Lee (16-2) looked very dehydrated Friday morning at The Mirage for the official weigh-ins. But hours later, at T-Mobile Arena for the ceremonial weigh-ins he looked much healthier. Lee said it won’t be an issue in the fight against Ferguson on Saturday night.

“Tony already knows,” Lee said. “It’s no more time for talking. The talking is over. I let him have it in media yesterday. I let him get out his little scenarios, his little words and whatever he wanted to say. The time for talking is over. We’re showing up and that’s all it’s gonna be. Tomorrow, he better be ready to fight, I’ll tell you that. I ain’t been doing none of the talking through this and I’m not gonna start now. He better be ready.”