Kevin Lee didn’t expect to be sitting down most of 2020 and section of 2021 on the sidelines, but he’s glad he did.
The previous interim UFC lightweight title challenger is closing in on the conclusion of his recovery from two ACL surgical procedures that have held him out of MMA for close to a yr. Lee (18-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) need to be in shape to contend once again this summertime and targets a return versus Tony Ferguson someday in June or July.
The last time the 28-yr-aged was found in motion was in March 2020. Lee misplaced to top rated contender Charles Oliveira with a third-spherical submission in the headlining act of UFC Struggle Night 170 in Brazil. It was a tricky defeat that put a halt to Lee’s momentum just after his knockout gain in excess of Gregor Gillespie a couple of months prior to.
Subsequent the defeat, Lee expressed unhappiness with the combat game, and even though he did not retire, he did question certain points about his preventing long run. Now, virtually a year later, Lee sees the pair of accidents and his road to recovery as a blessing in disguise.
“That’s one particular of all those things – like be thorough what you request for,” Lee informed MMA Junkie. “I did not automatically think it would occur like this. I didn’t feel I would have to blow out my knees to take pleasure in what I did have.
“I have been battling so a great deal and I’m a veteran of this activity now at only 28. I’ve got additional fights than men in their late 30s. So I was just likely back-to-back again-to-back again to where it obtained to the stage that it was just much too significantly on my body. I was just starting up to despise the procedure. I was starting off to dislike the coaching camps. I was starting up to loathe to go by way of all the things.
“That previous combat in distinct was the first combat with us dealing with COVID-19 and battling in an vacant arena and all these hoops and hurdles that I had to jump as a result of, so I was just starting up to despise it.
“But now that I just cannot do it, I seriously experienced to sit again and tumble back in adore with it. I just experienced to sit with it and comprehend, ‘Man, this is what I do – this is what I like to do.’ Through this pandemic, not being in a position to go out or see other persons or do just about anything else, it is like, ‘F*ck, what else do I do? That is correct – I fight. I, like, do this sh*t, and not getting equipped to do it tends to make me – absence can make the heart increase fonder.”
Lee has been making the most of every thing that entails currently being a expert fighter and is keen to make a comeback to MMA. He ideas to continue to keep education underneath the tutelage of Firas Zahabi at TriStar Health club in Montreal.
Lee thinks supporters will see a various model of him upon his return since he’s been able to perform on not just the actual physical aspects of the match, but more importantly his mind set.
“It’s a couple of unique aspects thats are heading to be great,” Lee said. “For one particular, I’m far more aware of the way I shift and how my physique is carrying out. As I’m hitting my peak as athlete, to be far more conscious now is likely to velocity that procedure up.
“I feel anybody which is seen me fight is aware that the guy across from me isn’t genuinely the largest obstacle for me. It is additional beating myself and the psychological aspect of it. So for me to sit back and not remaining equipped to do the actual physical aspect of the activity for in excess of a yr now, it is definitely challenged that psychological part of it. I truly feel like I’m commencing to get a substantially far better grip on it. By the time I do arrive all-around, there is heading to be so a lot of positives. There is so many men that come off large surgical procedures and large time off and they appear out like a new gentleman. The list goes on and on of tons of those people men. I’m seeking to be one particular of them.”