Former UFC lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee is taking his talents to Tristar Gym and for good reason.
Lee, who moved up to welterweight earlier this year only to get submitted by Rafael dos Anjos in their main event at UFC Rochester, has not fought with the same dominance that he did early into his promotional career. Having lost three out of his last four fights, two of which were main events, “MoTown Phenom” will be joining Tristar Gym in effort to turn his UFC career around.
“I just got done doing this crazy seven-week tour of going around to different camps,” Lee said in his recent appearance on Submission Radio. “I went to LA, I went to Phoenix, I went to Denver, I went to Montreal. I’m back in Vegas now.”
During his extensive search, Lee discovered that Tristar gym head coach Firas Zahabi had the most to offer. After all, Zahabi has managed one of the very best camps in MMA over the past decade.
“(I went) to try and find that guy out there, that somebody who would really speak to me. And to be honest, I feel like I did in Montreal with Tristar and Firas Zahabi,” Lee said. “Just having him and being around him and getting to pick his brain and his mind and seeing how it works. I feel like that’s what I’ve been missing. I know that’s what I’ve been missing a little bit ever since my coach Robert Follis passed, I haven’t had that guy to really guide me and show me the correct way of what to do. I’ve just been kind of trying to listen to myself and figure I got it enough.”
This could be a very good move for Lee as he sinks his teeth into the jam-packed welterweight division moving forward. The former lightweight standout remains just 26 years of age and could easily make his climb back to stardom with a mind like Zahabi’s in his corner.
Another positive of joining Tristar Gym is the exposure to former UFC champion and MMA legend Georges St-Pierre, who still trains at the gym despite being retired from competition. Lee’s decision to join the Canadian camp didn’t completely revolve around GSP’s involvement, but it certainly helped, even if Lee had previously called St-Pierre out.
“He understands it. We’re martial artists, we’re competitors,” Lee said. “If I’m not trying to push myself to the limit and I’m not trying to fight the best that’s out there, then I feel like he wouldn’t understand me as much. I think he’s got the same kind of fire in him.
“He’s going to train with me a lot. I feel like he’ll be another one of those great minds that I can kind of pick,” he added. “Seeing what makes him tick and what made him such a great champion, those are the things that I think will boost me to the next level.”
With Lee now joining one of the more complete gyms in MMA his performances inside of the cage should change significantly. That’s not to say that “Motown Phenom” won’t struggle in his pursuit of welterweight gold, but he seems to be in a good place entering the prime of his career.