A fresh start at welterweight didn’t go as planned for Kevin Lee at UFC Vegas 35.
After considering himself to already be one of the top five fighters in the world at 170 pounds, “The Motown Phenom” found early success against Daniel Rodriguez but then faded as the fight moved into the second and third rounds.
By the end of the night, Rodriguez was teeing off on Lee with nasty combinations as he pulled ahead and ultimately won a unanimous decision with 29-28 scores across the board.
Afterwards, Lee took to Instagram where he gave a rather short but telling reaction to his performance.
“Well, that was a sh*t fight,” Lee said.
It was obviously a disappointing ending for Lee, who had plotted and planned his move to welterweight for months after undergoing double knee surgery following his loss to Charles Oliveira in 2020.
Despite a previous setback in the division during a brief stop at 170 pounds in 2019, Lee was more determined than ever to climb the ranks and put himself into title contention after showing so much potential in the early part of his UFC career.
But after losing to Rodriguez, who accepted the fight on just two weeks’ notice, the 28-year-old Michigan native has now fallen to just 2-5 in his past seven appearances in the octagon. To make matters worse, Lee is 0-2 at welterweight and it’s unclear if he’ll stay in the division or attempt another move back down to 155 pounds.
For his part, UFC president Dana White seemed just as curious about what will happen to Lee in the future — and it appears that may potentially include parting ways with him after this latest setback.
“That’s a thing that we will get together on Tuesday and talk about and figure out what’s next for him — here or not here,” White said at UFC Vegas 35’s post-fight press conference.
Following a blistering 9-2 start to his UFC career, which led to an interim lightweight title opportunity, Lee has struggled with in-cage consistency and has missed weight twice at lightweight, which obviously led him to changing divisions.
Now it seems he’s stuck in limbo following this latest loss.