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Kevin Lee 'devastated, embarrassed' by loss to Al Iaquinta, considers welterweight

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MILWAUKEE – Kevin Lee describes his loss to Al Iaquinta as a “winnable fight I let loose.” Still, though, he believes he should’ve got his hand raised in the UFC on FOX 31 headliner.

Lee (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) dropped a narrow unanimous decision in his rematch with Iaquinta (14-4-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) on Saturday at Fiserv Forum. The defeat came nearly five years after his loss to Iaquinta at UFC 169 in February 2014.

“The Motown Phenom” entered the fight with remarkable confidence and felt avenging his loss to Iaquinta was an inevitable part of his journey to UFC lightweight gold. He experienced a hiccup, though, and made it clear it was difficult to digest.

“Devastating, embarrassed,” Lee told reporters, including MMAjunkie, of his loss post-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.”

Lee never had competed in a rematch prior to UFC on FOX 31. He believed he’d grown more than Iaquinta since the first fight, but that small piece of doubt stemming from the original contest might’ve impacted him, he said.

“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.”

Lee said he considers the defeat to Iaquinta as the most disappointing of his career. He came up short in a title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 in October 2017, but he said this one is different, mainly because he believes he should’ve won and also done more.

“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.”

The loss at UFC on FOX 31 marks a setback in Lee’s career. He’s now among the odd men looking out in the 155-pound title picture, and that could spark a move up to welterweight.

“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.”

For compete coverage of UFC on FOX 31, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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