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Kevin Lee: ‘Welterweight is now the marquee division, especially now that I’m in it’

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Kevin Lee has declared his weight class as the new ‘marquee division’ in the UFC.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Tinaldo vs Lee Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC’s lightweight division is deemed to be the company’s most talent-stacked and star-studded weight class today. It is also the former home weight class of Kevin Lee, who recently made the jump to 170 pounds.

“The Motown Phenom” pointed to “too many politics” as his primary reason for moving, but now that he is officially a welterweight, he also believes there is now a new “marquee division” in the UFC.

”Welterweight has become the marquee division,” Lee told USA Today’s Democrat and Chronicle. “Lightweight got stagnant for a little bit, and we’re really starting to see some shakers and movers at 170, and you’re going to count me in on May 18.”

”I feel that a lot of people have their eyeballs on 170 pounds,” he added. “This is a fight that really has a lot of attention for me right out the gate, even more than other big fights I’ve had in the past, so I’m excited for it. It’s a big fight for my future.

”Welterweight is now the marquee division, especially now that I’m in it.”

Lee’s first assignment as a welterweight will be against former 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos, whom he will be facing as the headliner for UFC on ESPN+ 9 this May. While he does have a tall task ahead of him, the 26-year-old fighter is not at all bothered by it.

”Dos Anjos has never seriously been hurt in a fight, and he’s fought a lot of top guys already,” he said. “I’m taking it as a full challenge. We’re both 155, going up to 170. I’ve been focusing on myself, and I feel if I show up at 100 percent, completely healthy, there’s not a man that can stop me, so that’s what I’m focused on.”

UFC on ESPN+ 9 is scheduled to take place on May 18th in Rochester, New York.