UnderGround Forums Explaining Kevin Lee

5/21/19 12:24 PM
2/17/03
Posts: 12710
How do we explain Kevin Lee's career at this point?

Let's start with two premises: First, he is clearly a good fighter. He destroyed Edson Barbosa. At this point in Edson's career, that's enough to be considered very good. Second, he is not the championship level that some of us thought he was or could be.

What gives?

Some of my thoughts:

First, I personally read too much into his first round with Tony Ferguson. He destroyed him in that round while Tony was on his greatest tear. I overestimated the effect of the staph infection and thought he was one good camp from beating Tony. His grappling was so slick that I figured it would be enough to get him to or near a title. I didn't consider that Landon Vanatta also smacked around TFerg for a round.

Second, I assumed he was a good striker when that was without merit. For some reason, I figured he would take to striking quickly and it just never materialized.

Third, Lee is clearly a smart, thoughtful guy. But, like another smart, hardworking fighter--Chael Sonnen--he lacks the top level mental toughness to win a title. I'm not saying he is 'mentally weak.' Clearly, he has achieved things in his life that belie this. But, he is not Tony Ferguson or Max Holloway tough.

Other thoughts?
5/21/19 1:12 PM
2/14/11
Posts: 1831

Maybe he needs to go to a camp that has some coaches who can get in his head and motivate him mentally. He should go to Thailand and train stand up there for awhile. 

5/22/19 6:26 PM
7/12/14
Posts: 977

He definitely has all the physical attributes to be successful but I think he's missing some of the mental attributes. I don't think it's toughness. He seems tough enough. I think it's focus. He seems to mentally deteriorate during the fight. Like he has too much ego and when things get diverse, he doesn't adjust. Especially when he gets shut down on the ground.

5/22/19 6:27 PM
7/22/05
Posts: 58319
Robert Follis' death.
5/22/19 8:27 PM
5/10/03
Posts: 38597
Card - Robert Follis' death.

This.

5/22/19 9:32 PM
11/1/03
Posts: 19223

I think he has great wrestling and decent standup. He not great and gets beat by elite fighters. No shame in that but at his age [35?] you get smarter but your reflexes and body slow down. Showed great skills in getting RDA's back but when he couldn't finish the fight became even. He's in a tough spot, he's a top contender but loses to the top guys. Cerone has had a similar career. I though Lee would be a tough fight for Kabib, i thought his wrestling could hold off Kabib and he had better standup. After his recent loses i doubt he could hang with Kabib, Kabibs too strong and is improving while Lee has peaked.

5/22/19 10:57 PM
12/26/18
Posts: 663

He is the Brendan shaub of the light/Welter weights. Moments that make you believe he is better than he is. No shame in being there.

5/22/19 11:21 PM
4/17/17
Posts: 2519
jpm995 - 

I think he has great wrestling and decent standup. He not great and gets beat by elite fighters. No shame in that but at his age [35?] you get smarter but your reflexes and body slow down. Showed great skills in getting RDA's back but when he couldn't finish the fight became even. He's in a tough spot, he's a top contender but loses to the top guys. Cerone has had a similar career. I though Lee would be a tough fight for Kabib, i thought his wrestling could hold off Kabib and he had better standup. After his recent loses i doubt he could hang with Kabib, Kabibs too strong and is improving while Lee has peaked.


Lee is more like 25.

He has cardio issues. He needs to address that first and foremost.
5/22/19 11:42 PM
5/8/13
Posts: 11979
We Are All One Mean Species -
jpm995 - 

I think he has great wrestling and decent standup. He not great and gets beat by elite fighters. No shame in that but at his age [35?] you get smarter but your reflexes and body slow down. Showed great skills in getting RDA's back but when he couldn't finish the fight became even. He's in a tough spot, he's a top contender but loses to the top guys. Cerone has had a similar career. I though Lee would be a tough fight for Kabib, i thought his wrestling could hold off Kabib and he had better standup. After his recent loses i doubt he could hang with Kabib, Kabibs too strong and is improving while Lee has peaked.


Lee is more like 25.

He has cardio issues. He needs to address that first and foremost.

Yea lee is 25 not 35... he’s young that’s why move to welter now was smart imo.... but I actually think it’s mental toughness. He folds when shit gets to hard. He’s a front runner. Similar to Conor but with different styles obviously, I just meant as far as being mentally weak....

5/23/19 12:20 AM
11/9/18
Posts: 1118

Lee believed his own hype. Too many people like OP were giving him too many props for not being great. He's a shitty person so the losses were bound to happen.

5/23/19 4:39 PM
9/27/15
Posts: 9357
Agree for the most part OP but I'm shocked no one on this thread has mentioned the elephant in the roo..that is that at 155, Lee has a pretty big power, size and speed advantage and this combined with his dominant wrestling, ground pound and control was more than enough to beat even the elite at 155..I was definitely thinking Lee posed big problems for Khabib

Then Iaquinta fought a perfect ganeplann and beat Lee and exposed a glaring weaknes..that is, Lees inability to stay strong when he can't finish his opt early and his athleticism is fading...

Then Kevin moves to 170 and this almost totally negates his size, power and speed advantage so it's more of a level playing field..we saw Kevin was a bit stronger and faster than RDA but nothing like the advantage he had vs 155ers..Christ, look at pictures of Lee fighting Iaquinta as Al looks 2 weight classes smaller..anyways, Kevin went balls out trying to dominate RDA but it didn't work and he has no plan B

Another thread was created on here about Kevin's unique 'energy control' problem..that is, he is so used to depending on his explosiveness and strength to win fights but now that opts are recognizing or learning how to weather his storm, Lee is lost..
30 days ago
6/3/08
Posts: 711

He should go do 21 days on naked and afraid. That would substantially bolster his mental toughness.

30 days ago
9/24/18
Posts: 1284
He should have taken the Darren Till fight, he would have beaten him.
30 days ago
11/20/09
Posts: 40168
wiggum - How do we explain Kevin Lee's career at this point?

Let's start with two premises: First, he is clearly a good fighter. He destroyed Edson Barbosa. At this point in Edson's career, that's enough to be considered very good. Second, he is not the championship level that some of us thought he was or could be.

What gives?

Some of my thoughts:

First, I personally read too much into his first round with Tony Ferguson. He destroyed him in that round while Tony was on his greatest tear. I overestimated the effect of the staph infection and thought he was one good camp from beating Tony. His grappling was so slick that I figured it would be enough to get him to or near a title. I didn't consider that Landon Vanatta also smacked around TFerg for a round.

Second, I assumed he was a good striker when that was without merit. For some reason, I figured he would take to striking quickly and it just never materialized.

Third, Lee is clearly a smart, thoughtful guy. But, like another smart, hardworking fighter--Chael Sonnen--he lacks the top level mental toughness to win a title. I'm not saying he is 'mentally weak.' Clearly, he has achieved things in his life that belie this. But, he is not Tony Ferguson or Max Holloway tough.

Other thoughts?

My thoughts are you hit the nail on the head.  Couldn't have used better examples or breakdown myself.  I'll post less and read more.

30 days ago
4/20/08
Posts: 21839

The guys who seem terrified of a weight class above (when they are clearly the same size or larger than some of the dudes in the next weight class) always seem to be the types that are missing that extra "oomph" to get and stay at the top. That's Kevin Lee, Phil Davis, Gustoffson, etc. Kevin Lee cried about a 165 class more than anybody, has said the 170ers are way too big etc

30 days ago
4/10/03
Posts: 5347
He is enigma when he fights, and you feel from his confidence he will crush whoever he's fighting. He is a top tier fighter, but it's like everyone keeps saying he erodes to nothing mentally if something doesn't go his way in a moment in the fight. Like he is so broken that he will lose right thing in there. It's crazy.
30 days ago
5/14/18
Posts: 939

I actually thought he would be the one to beat Khabib for a while, but he seems to have plateaued or even regressed a little. Wishing him well.... I didn't like him at first, and he still makes me cringe regularly, but he seems like a decent dude and I root for him.

29 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 12712
TheRealJoker - 
Card - Robert Follis' death.

This.


Great point.

I guess it's possible that the staph really did affect the TFerg fight and Follis's death affected everything after. Or the issue was always mental toughness. Or a mix.

29 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 12713
ons ear - Agree for the most part OP but I'm shocked no one on this thread has mentioned the elephant in the roo..that is that at 155, Lee has a pretty big power, size and speed advantage and this combined with his dominant wrestling, ground pound and control was more than enough to beat even the elite at 155..I was definitely thinking Lee posed big problems for Khabib

Then Iaquinta fought a perfect ganeplann and beat Lee and exposed a glaring weaknes..that is, Lees inability to stay strong when he can't finish his opt early and his athleticism is fading...

Then Kevin moves to 170 and this almost totally negates his size, power and speed advantage so it's more of a level playing field..we saw Kevin was a bit stronger and faster than RDA but nothing like the advantage he had vs 155ers..Christ, look at pictures of Lee fighting Iaquinta as Al looks 2 weight classes smaller..anyways, Kevin went balls out trying to dominate RDA but it didn't work and he has no plan B

Another thread was created on here about Kevin's unique 'energy control' problem..that is, he is so used to depending on his explosiveness and strength to win fights but now that opts are recognizing or learning how to weather his storm, Lee is lost..

Good points.
29 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 12714
D241 - 
wiggum - How do we explain Kevin Lee's career at this point?

Let's start with two premises: First, he is clearly a good fighter. He destroyed Edson Barbosa. At this point in Edson's career, that's enough to be considered very good. Second, he is not the championship level that some of us thought he was or could be.

What gives?

Some of my thoughts:

First, I personally read too much into his first round with Tony Ferguson. He destroyed him in that round while Tony was on his greatest tear. I overestimated the effect of the staph infection and thought he was one good camp from beating Tony. His grappling was so slick that I figured it would be enough to get him to or near a title. I didn't consider that Landon Vanatta also smacked around TFerg for a round.

Second, I assumed he was a good striker when that was without merit. For some reason, I figured he would take to striking quickly and it just never materialized.

Third, Lee is clearly a smart, thoughtful guy. But, like another smart, hardworking fighter--Chael Sonnen--he lacks the top level mental toughness to win a title. I'm not saying he is 'mentally weak.' Clearly, he has achieved things in his life that belie this. But, he is not Tony Ferguson or Max Holloway tough.

Other thoughts?

My thoughts are you hit the nail on the head.  Couldn't have used better examples or breakdown myself.  I'll post less and read more.


Thanks, D.
29 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 65205
Jones right nostril - He should have taken the Darren Till fight, he would have beaten him.

Good chance of it, and that probably would have helped his weak budo immensely. Even if he lost, it's still a good thing for him mentally to step up to a challenge like that.

Guy has above average athleticism and technical ability, but just doesn't see to have the warrior spirit to run with the big dogs. Too bad he can't just keep fighting guys like Chiesa over and over.
29 days ago
12/19/10
Posts: 3094

Kevin Lee reminds me of Eryk Anders.. They are gatekeepers at best - you can just tell they on the opposite end of the sprectrum. I guess you could say leaning more to the beta side rather than the alpha side.

29 days ago
12/26/18
Posts: 690

Kevin reminds me of Marcel from the originals. King of the lackys.

29 days ago
12/26/18
Posts: 691

If they had a 165 it would be perfect for him

29 days ago
9/27/15
Posts: 9382
PeteyWheatstraw - 
Jones right nostril - He should have taken the Darren Till fight, he would have beaten him.

Good chance of it, and that probably would have helped his weak budo immensely. Even if he lost, it's still a good thing for him mentally to step up to a challenge like that.

Guy has above average athleticism and technical ability, but just doesn't see to have the warrior spirit to run with the big dogs. Too bad he can't just keep fighting guys like Chiesa over and over.

It will be very interesting to see how Lee comes out in his next fight..he thrives big time on budo and emotion and he might just come out too passive next time

Who should UFC match Kevin up with now at 170?