Kevin Lee talks about his excruciating weight cut prior to UFC 216.
Kevin Lee was lucky to make it to the Octagon last Saturday at UFC 216.
As well as healing from a staph infection, ‘The Motown Phenom’ had to cut a massive 19-pounds the day before the weigh-ins at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
Lee, 25, failed to make weight on his first attempt — stepping onto the scales at 156 lbs. — but was given an extra hour to make the cut by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC).
It was during this time that Lee, who has always made weight smoothly in the past, became delirious and lost track of time.
According to Lee, he has little to no recollection of the weight cut and said that, once he finally made weight and began to come to his senses, the stress of the entire situation overwhelmed him.
“That last hour that I had to cut that extra pound, I don’t even know how I got it off,” Lee told Chael Sonnen on a recent edition of his podcast (h/t Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “I don’t know where I was. Your mind just doesn’t want to work when you’re in those kind of states. . .
“Like I said, I don’t even remember much. I don’t really know. I was kind of out of it and I just left it up to my coaches and they got the job done.
“Once I actually made the weight, as soon as I sat down I was more exhausted than I – I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like that in my life. I was carrying the stress of the whole event too so it was a lot.”
Lee eventually hit the scales at 154.5 lbs. but was notably affected by the cut on fight night. The former high school wrestler started off strong, getting the better of Tony Ferguson in the first round, but fatigue soon set in and Lee found himself overwhelmed by ‘El Cucuy’s’ pressure striking.
Lee eventually tapped to a triangle choke in the third round but, on the whole, did better than many expected.
Lee hinted at a move to welterweight in the immediate aftermath of UFC 216 but, after having had time to reflect, will take a more measured approach and reassess his options while he rests his body and recovers from what has been an exhausting year.
“We’re gonna see. I’ve taken four fights in the last year. It’s been a major strain on my body,” he said. “I think right now I need some time and see how everything shakes out in the division. Does McGregor fight Diaz? Does he fight Tony? Do they open up 165 [pounds]? Who’s there? Who’s gonna be top dog? I’m gonna let everything shake out. I’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting these past couple of months so I need some time to let my body rest.”
Lee is still ranked as the No. 7 lightweight in the world.