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Kevin Lee reveals he was ‘close to death’ cutting weight for Tony Ferguson fight

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“If I would’ve had to pull off an extra half a pound, I would’ve probably had to go to the hospital.” 

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Despite a relatively successful lightweight run in the UFC, Kevin Lee doesn’t see himself fighting at 155 pounds again. As “The Motown Phenom” told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, that decision came after a brutal weight cut he went through for his interim title fight against Tony Ferguson in 2017 at UFC 216.

“The Ferguson one, I felt like I was close to death, for sure,” he said. “If I would’ve had to pull off an extra half a pound, I would’ve probably had to go to the hospital.”

“(It felt) like the biggest adrenaline rush that you can possibly feel. It’s your body trying to keep itself alive, which compared to regular fighting, ain’t really shit. And your body’s constantly trying to maintain that homeostasis, right? It’s constantly trying to keep you stable. So, yeah, that one was tough.”

Lee, who used to weigh in at 179 pounds on the Monday of his lightweight fights, said he is only willing to go back down for one matchup.

“The only fight I will come back for is the Oliveira rematch. I feel like I deserve that fight. That would’ve been a good one to have so if he racks up a couple more and we’ll see how that plays out. If they offer me that fight, I’ll go back down to fight Oliveira, but nobody else, though.”

Lee’s last fight happened in March 2020 at 155 pounds when he was submitted by reigning champion Charles Oliveira. He’s now back fighting at welterweight and is scheduled to take on Daniel Rodriguez this Saturday at UFC Vegas 35.