During UFC Vegas 76, Lee made his comeback to the UFC, but unfortunately suffered a first-round submission loss to Rinat Fakhretdinov. As fate would have it, this turned out to be Lee’s final bout in his career. On Tuesday, “The Motown Phenom” took to Instagram to share a retirement message, stating that he was permanently hanging up his gloves to explore new avenues.
“In short, I have decided to retire from MMA and the UFC. It has been a challenging yet rewarding 12-year journey for me, striving to be the best fighter I could be. I poured immense effort, dedication, and hard work into becoming one of the top fighters in the world. Looking back, I can say that I had an incredible career. I faced some of the most formidable opponents, never shying away from a fight, always pushing myself to achieve things I never thought possible. The past three years have taken a toll on my body, marked by numerous injuries. And honestly, this is one of the key factors influencing my decision. Following my recent fight, I require another surgery.
“I take pride in the fact that I went out on my shield. I am proud that I stood tall and exited the sport on my own terms. However, now is the time for me to consider more than just myself. I firmly believe that the skills, time, and energy I invested in this sport can be redirected towards something else. With the grace of God, I trust that I will find a new path—one that allows me to utilize my skills to aid others. If I commit myself to a different endeavor with the same level of dedication and hard work, the possibilities are limitless.
“Once again, I hold my head up high. I may have some disappointments regarding unfulfilled goals, but I am proud of the career I have had. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has shown care and support for me. Even those who doubted or harbored negativity along the way, I appreciate each and every one of you. It has been an incredible journey. I am still young, with the potential to achieve great things in life, and that is precisely what I intend to do.”
At just 30 years old, Lee accomplished remarkable feats during his 11-year career. Since his UFC debut in 2014, he amassed an impressive 9-1 record, solidifying his status as one of the top lightweights globally. He even competed for an interim lightweight title against Tony Ferguson. However, following that defeat, Lee experienced a downward trajectory, going 2-5 in his subsequent seven fights within the promotion. He even briefly left the UFC to face Diego Sanchez in Eagle FC. Lee retires from MMA with an overall record of 19-8.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MMA retirement
What prompted Kevin Lee to retire from MMA?
Kevin Lee cited a combination of factors that led to his retirement from MMA. These factors included the toll that injuries had taken on his body, the need for another surgery following his last fight, and a desire to explore new opportunities beyond the sport.
How did Kevin Lee reflect on his career in MMA?
Kevin Lee expressed pride in his career, highlighting his 12-year journey of hard work, dedication, and facing tough opponents. While he acknowledged some disappointments and unfulfilled goals, he held his head high and appreciated the support he received throughout his career.
What are Kevin Lee’s plans after retirement?
Kevin Lee intends to redirect his skills, time, and energy into something else. He mentioned his belief that he can use his abilities to help others and expressed optimism about finding a new path with the guidance of God. He emphasized his commitment to working hard and achieving success in his future endeavors.