Ever since their first meeting in February 2013 in his first bout for the UFC, Kevin Lee has been calling for a do-over with Al Iaquinta. He got his wish last Saturday in the main even of the UFC’s trip to Milwaukee and, in the end, the result was a repeat of their first match.
Lee started well but would soon find himself running out of ideas against a game Iaquinta, who began to assert dominance in the fight’s later rounds and win a clear-cut, if relatively close, decision win.
And for Lee, this was a very tough pill to swallow.
Speaking of the defeat immediately after the fight to the assembled media, the Michigan native didn’t conceal his disappointment.
“Devastated, embarrassed,” said Lee when asked about his thoughts on the fight.
“This sport sometimes has the lowest of lows, and it really don’t feel lower than now, but I’ll be all right. I might not get another shot at Al, but I’ve fought a lot of great fighters in my career, and he’s definitely up there amongst them. We’ll see once everything gets settled down.
“I think I let the mind games play into me a little bit, but honestly I can’t make no excuses,” Lee said. “I had a great camp. It was a great cut. Everything felt on fire tonight. The first three rounds I thought for sure I had them. Then I just took my foot off the gas. Those are just tactical mistakes that a guy like me shouldn’t be making, and I couldn’t be more disappointed in myself for it.”
He would continue to say that the defeat was the most disappointing of his career, including the loss he experienced to Tony Ferguson in an interim title bout last year.
“I know that I could’ve went a lot harder,” Lee said. “In that Tony fight I gave everything I had until my body just couldn’t take it no more. In this fight I just entered the fight feeling good, and it’s just an awful feeling.”
A loss like this often makes a fighter confront their immediate future in the sport and, judging by his comments at least, Lee seems to be readying himself to test the waters at 170-pounds.
“It might be time for me to make that change,” Lee said. “I knew it about a year ago, but I’m a real stubborn son of a (expletive), so I’m just going to try to make as many adjustments as I can and make it as clean as I can, but it still is very rough for me to get down to this weight. Maybe now it’s time to just go up and look at other options.
“I think I can compete very, very well at 170 and be fast in and out of the pocket, too. I don’t know. We’ll see as I kind of get healed up and everything.”