Kevin 'Motown Phenom' Lee is aiming to make his comeback to mixed martial arts in the mid to latter part of 2024.
The 31-year-old announced he would be making his return to the sport at the end of January, having announced his retirement just 6 months prior following a loss to Rinat Fakhretdinov.
In an interview with Middle Easy, Lee confirmed that the desire to return had been brewing but ultimately, a conversation with his mother led to the decision being finalised. He said:
“It's been a long time coming. I've probably been thinking about it for the last two months or so. The one that really kind of pushed me over the edge was a conversation that I had with my Mom and she said that the smile in my soul was gone; and I remember repeating it back to her to make sure I heard it right.
“And I was like, ‘Man, that's deep.’ I mean, my take away from it was just that I needed to fight again. It had already kind of been in my mind. It had already been something that I kept being driven to. And when she said that I was like, okay, yeah, what am I going to do?
“I'm 31 now. If I'm going to make a run, now's the time. And I don't want to live with no regrets. And I really need to see this thing through and I need to see my life through and feel good for myself.”
Lee also revealed that he is looking to return to Lightweight, admitting that the cut is a difficult one to make, but something he feels he needs to do in order to compete at his optimum level; as competing at 170lbs wasn’t only bad for his joints, but substantially took away from his speed.
“It's a tough cut. It's always been a tough cut, but I've always been able to make it. You know, the only time I was it was for the Charles Oliveira fight, which I came close then, but there was a lot of, let's say, extenuating circumstances, you know, around the whole COVID thing and all of that leading up to that fight in a weight cut that got in a way.
“I think I've been a little soft about cutting weight over the last couple of years. It's tough. It's probably the hardest part of the sport. But I think it's absolutely necessary, and especially if I'm going to be chasing world championships, I have to go through it just like everybody else.”
Although not putting a specific date on his return, Lee confessed that his announcement surrounding his return was more to hold himself accountable and will look to re-enter the testing pool around March, April time. Although not at all focussed on who he could potentially meet upon his return to the octagon, Lee does see a couple of interesting matchups awaiting him,
“There's a couple of great fights. Tony Ferguson, maybe the winner or loser of Conor and Chandler. There's a couple you know, I'm honestly not focused too much on opponents right now. I think I've got a long road ahead of me, for one, getting healthy, two getting into shape three, signing a contract.”
Watch the full interview here: