clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Video: Kevin Lee explains decision to retire: ‘I’m proud that I went out on my shield’

Kevin Lee, 30, is indeed moving on from the combat sports world.

UFC Vegas 76 went down two weekends ago, featuring the promotional return of “The Mo-Town Phenom.” Unfortunately for the one-time interim Lightweight title challenger, Lee was unable to reignite the flame from his prior run, suffering a 55-second guillotine choke defeat to Rinat Fakhretdinov (watch highlights).

Lee revealed yesterday that his recent outing will be his last and, today, he expanded on why in an Instagram video (h/t MMA Fighting).

“To make a long story short, I’m deciding to retire from MMA and the UFC. It’s been 12 years, 12 long years of me being the best fighter I can be, and a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication to trying to be the best fighter in the world. When I look back on it, I had a hell of a career, I fought a lot of tough guys, some of the toughest guys in the world, I always put up a fight, I never backed down, and always challenged myself to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of doing. The last three years have been rough, especially on my body. It’s been a lot of injuries, and honestly that’s one of the main factors of me making this decision: I’m in need of another surgery after that last fight.

“I’m proud that I went out on my shield, I’m proud that I stood up in there and went out on my own terms, but at this point, I’ve got to think about more than just myself, and I think that my skills and the time and the energy that I’ve put into this sport, I can put into something else and god willing, all glory to god, he’s going to lead me down a different path, the right path, where I can use my skills to help people. I think if I dedicate myself and give just as much hard work to doing something else, the sky’s the limit.

“So again, I hold my head up high. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to but I’m proud of myself for this career that I’ve had and I appreciate everybody who has given two f—ks about me and everybody who has supported me. Even the people that kind of doubted and hated along the way, I appreciate everybody. It’s been a hell of a journey. I’m still young, I’m still capable of doing a lot in this life and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Lee retires having last earned victories over Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (watch highlights) in his lone Eagle Fighting Championship appearance in March 2021. Before that, Lee’s final UFC win came in the best highlight of his career, knocking out Gregor Gillespie with a picture-perfect first round head kick at UFC 244 in Nov. 2019.

For complete UFC Vegas 76 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania