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Ex-UFC Title Challenger Kevin Lee Announces Retirement at 30

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee, 30, has decided to hang up his four-ounce gloves.

On Tuesday, the former UFC interim lightweight championship challenger announced his decision in an Instagram video. Lee’s decision follows a 55-second submission defeat to

On July 1, Rinat Fakhretdinov will compete in the UFC on ESPN 48.

“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,” Lee said.

“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 have to think about more than just myself and my skills. The time and energy that I put into this sport, I can put into something else. And God willing, and all glory to God, he’s going to lead me down another path, the right path to where I can use my skills to help people.

“I think if I dedicate myself and I give just as much work to doing something else, the sky is the limit. So again, I hold my head up high. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get to accomplish everything that I wanted to, but I’m proud of myself for this career that I’ve had, and I appreciate everybody that has given two f—ks about me and everybody that supported me, and even the people that doubted and hated me along the way. I appreciate everybody. It’s been one 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 began his UFC career by winning nine of his first eleven fights. This set up a 155-pound interim title fight against Tony Ferguson, who he lost by third-round submission at UFC 216 in October 2017. Since then, “The Motown Phenom” has gone 3-5, switching between lightweight and welterweight and collecting important victories over Diego Sanchez, Gregor Gillespie, and Edson Barboza.