Former UFC welterweight headliner Kevin Lee will make his return to combat sports against fellow UFC jetsam Diego Sanchez as part of the upcoming Eagle FC mixed martial arts (MMA) event, taking place on March 11 inside FTX Arena in Miami, Florida.
The 29 year-old Lee (18-7) was released from UFC after losing four of his last five and flunking a post-fight drug test, but is ready to rewrite his legacy as one of the pioneers of the newly-created 165-pound weight class.
“The Motown Phenom” previously oscillated between lightweight and welterweight.
“It’s one thing to be a UFC lightweight champion, right? And you can be the greatest and all that,” Lee told MMA Junkie Radio. “But one thing I notice is, no matter how good you are, Georges St-Pierre is the greatest (welterweight) of all time, right? It’s really hard to dispute that, but as soon as somebody like Kamaru Usman starts winning a couple fights, all of a sudden they write all of that off anyway. I feel like this is gonna be what really sets me apart from just your average UFC champion.”
Usman, like Israel Adesanya at middleweight, has been working that “GOAT” angle.
The contest is considered a showcase fight for Lee, for better or worse. Sanchez (30-13), who turned 40 back in December, is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Jake Matthews in late 2020, which led to his “sad” release the following year.
Eagle FC is the new MMA promotion created in part by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who intends to build his brand both stateside and abroad. The means to that end is developing stars that resonate with American audiences and it appears Lee has been pegged to be “that guy.”
Expect Sanchez to have something to say about that.