Kevin Lee saw his five-fight win streak come to an end when he was submitted by Tony Ferguson back at UFC 216 for the interim lightweight title.
In hopes of regaining some ground in the talented 155-pound division, “Motown Phenom” is changing up a few things for 2018. Not only is Lee taking some time off to refine his skills inside of the cage, but he’s mixing things up on the management side, too.
“I’m taking some time, I’m changing up my whole style,” Lee said during a recent appearance on MMA on SiriusXM. “I’m changing up my team around me. You know, there have been a lot of things happening, especially at the end of this last year, unfortunately, that I’ve had to make changes (for). But it’s a new me, it’s a new start, when I come back the folks are going to see a new me.”
When Lee is ready and willing to step back inside of the Octagon he may find himself in a lightweight clash with fan favorite Justin Gaethje, who is coming off a third-round knockout loss to former champion Eddie Alvarez back at UFC 218. Gaethje recently took aim at “Motown Phenom” when he said he’d love to beat up a “loudmouth.”
“I mean, absolutely,” Lee said when asked if he’d be interested in fighting Gaethje. “I think the best thing about 155 is that there are so many options. The division is right open now. I don’t know, we’ll see.”
That said, Lee insists that “Highlight” needs even more time off than himself to heal from the beating he sustained opposite Alvarez, as well as Gaethje’s menacing UFC debut against Michael Johnson back in July.
“If it’s going to be against Justin, I like easy money,” Lee said.
“Justin likes to take a lot of damage. I like to give a lot of damage – it seems like a good match to me.
“I’m trying to look out for Justin’s health, too. He needs some time, too. The man has taken a lot of bad beatings over the last couple of months. I don’t think he wants another one right here, right now.
“If he does then so be it, but for now I’m just taking my time. I’m still young in the game. I got a long time to go. I want to make some necessary changes to my camp. I’ve just changed management, too. There are going to be a lot of changes coming and I think people are going to be excited about it.”
Whether or not Lee draws Gaethje his next time out (that seems like one of the more plausible matchups), fight fans better get used to “Motown Phenom” competing atop the UFC’s 155-pound division. Every time he has lost inside of the Octagon Lee has seemingly come back stronger, so there’s no telling how far the Grand Rapids native can take it in 2018.