Less than a year after stepping away from competitive combat, “The Mo-Town Phenom” has found himself drawn back to the arena. Taking to Twitter recently, Lee announced his intention to return to fighting shape, gearing up for what will be his 28th career bout (with a record of 19 wins and 8 losses).
His most recent appearance in the octagon was supposed to mark the beginning of a triumphant return to the UFC. However, things didn’t go according to plan for Lee, who suffered a defeat in just 55 seconds, succumbing to a Rinat Fakhretdinov guillotine choke this past July.
Now, as he contemplates his next move, a rematch with Tony Ferguson, whom he faced in October 2017 for the interim lightweight title, is one option on the table. Lee is eyeing potential matchups with other notable lightweight contenders, including the winner or loser of the Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler bout.
“Right now, I’m not fixated on specific opponents,” Lee revealed to MiddleEasy. “My focus is on recovering my health, getting back into peak physical condition, and securing a fight contract. Once those steps are in place, then we can discuss opponents and venue. But for now, it’s all about the process.”
Nothing is certain at this stage, as Lee himself acknowledges. The highly anticipated McGregor vs. Chandler showdown has yet to be officially confirmed, adding to the uncertainty surrounding Lee’s future plans. Nonetheless, Lee is optimistic about finalizing a bout for the summer months.
Having experienced his most significant successes in the lightweight division, Lee embarked on a five-fight winning streak before his defeat to Ferguson.
However, subsequent attempts to establish himself in both the lightweight and welterweight classes have been less fruitful. Looking ahead, Lee recognizes the importance of discipline in returning to the form that propelled him to title contention at lightweight.
“Cutting weight has always been a challenge for me,” Lee admitted. “But it’s a necessary sacrifice if I want to compete at the highest level. Despite the difficulties, I know I can make the weight, and that’s where my strengths lie. Attempting to bulk up for the welterweight division proved unsuccessful and detrimental to my performance.”
Reflecting on his brief foray into welterweight competition, Lee acknowledges that his decision to fight against Fakhretdinov while nursing a severe knee injury was ill-advised.
“Honestly, it was a foolish move,” Lee confessed. “I was aware of my injury throughout the training camp, which was far from ideal. My pride and ego got the better of me, and I foolishly pursued the fight. Looking back, it was a regrettable decision driven by my desire to prove myself after being cut from the UFC.”
In hindsight, Lee is content to leave behind the welterweight division, recognizing that his future lies in returning to his natural weight class and focusing on his journey back to the top of the lightweight ranks.