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Despite highlight reel KO over Gillespie, Kevin Lee still feels left out of UFC title picture

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“I still feel like I’m exed out of a lot of conversations, especially around the lightweight title.”

Kevin Lee after his fight with Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244. Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Kevin Lee snapped his two-fight losing skid with a highlight reel, head kick knockout of Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 but ‘The Motown Phenom’ feels he’s been overlooked by his fellow fighters and MMA fans.

Speaking to MMA Junkie (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA) in a recent interview Lee, who is expected to return to the Octagon to face Charlies Oliveira at UFC Fight Night 170, said he has a ways to go before solidifying himself as a top contender in the UFC’s talent-stacked lightweight division.

“A little bit but no,” Lee said when asked if he felt more respected after KO’ing Gillespie at UFC 244. “To be honest, not yet. That’s why I got to do this one again to really remind people. I still feel like I’m exed out of a lot of conversations, especially around the lightweight title.

“Like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and Tony [Ferguson] are getting ready to fight for it, but that’s my title. I got to go out there and keep proving it to people. I’m going to come out from the back end and they can’t stop me. I’m getting a little bit more respect but not really, not yet.”

Lee originally wanted to fight on the UFC 249 undercard but the 27-year-old will be watching the action from ringside instead.

“I wanted to fight on the undercard of that one,” he said. “But I’ll still be in attendance. I’m still going to watch that fight. It’s going to be a damn good one.

“… I’ll ask a few questions myself and get some answers — that’s for sure.”

UFC Fight Night 170, which is expected to feature Lee vs. Oliveira as the main event, is scheduled to take place later this year, March 14 at Ginásio Nilson Nelson in Brasília, Brazil.