Kevin Lee sees big opportunity with PFL, says he’d be ‘hurting leverage’ if he returned to UFC

Kevin Lee sees ample amount of opportunities outside of the UFC.

Lee (19-7) was released by the UFC in late 2021 which came as a surprise to him. He signed a four-fight deal with Eagle FC, but only has competed once for the promotion. He defeated Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision in March 2022.

The abrupt end to his UFC tenure came after Lee thinks he was caught in the crossfire of his management at Creative Artists Agency and its dispute with the UFC during heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s contract negotiations. But now that Lee has signed with Dominance MMA, the door could be open for a UFC return – but “The Motown Phenom” isn’t sure if that’s the right move.

“That’s been floated out there a few times, and I have thought about it, but I’m not putting energy toward it, to be honest with you,” Lee told ESPN. “I feel like there’s so many opportunities in this sport and there’s a big opportunity now with PFL. You know, they just signed Jake Paul. They’re making a lot of waves outside of the fighting realm, outside of the bubble the UFC has created.

“There’s a lot of opportunity outside of it and I’m one of the most experienced guys. You can’t look at anybody who’s unsigned from the UFC that has my record, has fought the people that I’ve fought, and has my age and my upside to me, either. So I would almost be hurting my leverage if I was just to straight go back with the UFC right now.”

The 30-year-oldl Lee thinks he still has a lot left to give. He’s currently under contract with Eagle FC, but says he’s been given the flexibility to fight elsewhere while still having the backup of an Eagle FC return. Eagle FC has not held a show since this past August.

For Lee, the PFL’s $1 million prize for season winners is a lot more enticing to his career than a potential re-signing with the UFC.

“It’s something that I’m kind of interested in, but it would have to be the right offer. It’d have to be the right fight. It’d have to be something other than just to say I’m a UFC fighter,” Lee said of a potential UFC return. “I’ve been there and done that. That doesn’t do that much for me. A million dollars sounds a whole lot better – especially at my age now.

“I’ve got a few more years left of me really pursuing this thing that I need to give it my full and undivided attention.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie