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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Kevin Lee after losing interim title fight at UFC 216?

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 216 blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this past weekend (Sat. Oct. 7, 2017) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Ray Borg who was dominated by reigning Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in the co-main event before getting submitted in the fifth and final round (see it again here). And Walt Harris, who was obliterated by Fabricio Werdum in just 65 seconds.

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now two days removed from the show?

Kevin Lee.

“The Motown Phenom” started off good against Tony Ferguson, landing on a couple of big shots while absorbing some, as well. He managed to get to the fight to the ground at one point and deliver some ground-and-pound to win round one.

In the second round, though, Lee slowed down a bit and started to take some damage from “El Cucuy,” ending the round bloodied and battered courtesy of the longer fighter. Lee, though, managed to secure a couple of takedowns to begin round three, though, he had to thwart off several submission attempts for his troubles.

But, Ferguson did his damage off his back, too, eventually slipping in an air-tight triangle choke the Lee simply couldn’t get out of. Afterward, Lee revealed he was battling a staph infection, one he hid from UFC and NSAC officials. The infection bothered him during his weight cut, which is why he failed to hit his mark on his first attempt.

Indeed, Kevin played a dangerous game in hiding his injury, one he claims nearly cost him his life, but thankfully, only cost him an interim title.

“The weight cut was what it was,” Lee said during the spot-fight presser. “I wasn’t going to let down the whole show, let down everybody. I was going to make the weight, even if I had to cut my foot off or something. It damn near killed me. I just had to do what I had to do. I got a job to do. I’m a professional. I’m going to come out here no matter how bad it hurts. … By the third round it just was too much for me.”

So who should he face next?

I’d like to see him face off against the loser of the upcoming 155-pound scrap between Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje. I initially wanted to pair him against Khabib Nurmagomedov, but, the fact remains “The Eagle” is still undefeated at (24-0, 8-0 UFC) and is likely in line for a shot at the strap.

People just seem to forget how good Khabib really easy due to his inactivity.

A matchup with either Alvarez or Gaethje would undoubtedly be a barn-burner, as neither man is exactly known for his jiu-jitsu. It would give Lee a chance to say where he’s more comfortable -- on the feet -- in hopes of getting back on the winning track and back on his hunt for gold.

Lee did mention a move up to Welterweight could be in his future, but we’ll wait to see if that’s what he really decides to do in the coming months before we start setting him up against bigger foes.

For complete UFC Fight 216 “Ferguson vs. Lee” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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