2017 was a tumultuous year for Kevin Lee to say the least. The rising star had won five consecutive fights before losing to ‘El Cucuy’ Tony Ferguson and the opportunity to assert himself as perennial UFC lightweight contender. Two months later his head coach: Robert Follis would be dead by suicide. Lee was in a dark place with initial thoughts of guilt.
“It took me a long time to understand why,” Lee said. “A part of you wants to blame yourself. Especially coming off that fight with Tony Ferguson. I’m like, ‘Man, if I had won that fight – is that the reason why?’”
Following the tragic end of Robert Follis’ life, Lee would have a variegated set of performances with no head coach. That’s until a recommendation was made by UFC color commentator: Joe Rogan. He would connect Lee with Tristar Head Coach, Firas Zahabi.
The renowned MMA coach recently joined Rogan on his popular podcast show to discuss Lee’s recent spectacular knockout victory over Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244, and what the future holds for the Motown Phenom.
“He could become world champion - if he’s disciplined,” Zahabi told Rogan.
Rogan and Zahabi both pointed out the similarities between Lee and arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time.
“Who fights like you? Georges St Pierre,” Rogan explained the primary reason for connecting the pair was the resemblance of styles to Zahabi’s flagship pupil.
If Lee is to become world champion there is no better blueprint to follow than that of a former two-weight championship winner. And to the casual observer it does seem like the Tristar camp has instilled a powerful path forwards for the 27-year-old.
“(Lee) was very focused for this one,” Zahabi said. “He was very disciplined, he came to all the practices.”
Rogan also felt that Lee is a superstar in the making. “If he does make big strides in the sport and becomes a champion, he could transcend... it’s just a matter of doing what he did in the Gregor Gillispie fight over and over again.”