Kevin Lee is excited for his UFC return match-up with Rinat Fakhretdinov this weekend, because it gives him more pressure — which he kind of likes, Lee explained during this week’s UFC Vegas 76 media day.
“For me to go up against somebody that nobody really heard of — I just learned how to pronounce his name this weekend — it’s like, I’ve got to really go for it,” stated Lee (19-7), returning to the promotion for the first time since August of 2021. “I’ve got to really step it up. You can’t play around with this dude and even show that he’s in teh same category as me.”
What Lee is not excited for is fighting in the virtually barren UFC Apex, the promotion’s private venue that was originally built to house Dana White’s Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, having the Apex was a struck of luck for the UFC, who shifted the bulk of their events to the Las Vegas facility.
Fans and fighters alike, however, are tiring of seeing APEX shows announced given most of the world is open for business.
“I wish it was in front of more fans. I don’t know how many people are going to be at the Apex, but it’s kind of stupid,” Lee said regarding his comeback being set at the venue. “I don’t know what we’re doing. Know what I mean? The pandemic is over. I don’t know if people got the message, or they sent out the telegram. But the pandemic is over. I don’t know what we’re still doing here. I get that there’s money to be had, but it’s kind of stupid.”
Lee went on to explain that there’s “a different energy when it’s thousands and thousands of people screaming. It’s a different level of feeling. It’s why when I want fights like the Charles Oliveira fight again— it’s a different feeling. I wish that was happening, but I’m going to make do with what I do, and I’m going to go out there on Saturday in front of the two, three hundred rich-ass motherf*ckers that want to see me bleed, and we’re gonna get it in.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 76 media day appearance by Kevin Lee above.