Veteran Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Kevin Lee never lacks confidence. Even when he’s just days away from his return to welterweight against a dangerous fighter in short-notice replacement Daniel Rodriguez.
It’s understandable why Lee, 28, is full of confidence. He is already seven years into an Octagon run that started at the neophyte age of 21-years-old. Although he hasn’t won a championship in the promotion, he has had quite a few notable moments. Including competing for interim-lightweight gold against former division king Tony Ferguson in 2017.
Kevin Lee expects to beat Rodriguez’s ass at UFC Vegas 35
This extensive history is why he heads into his UFC Vegas 35 matchup feeling like a star talent dealing out a nice slice of fame for his opponent “D-Rod.” In a way, Lee seems to view it almost as a gift for the Californian, after he stepped up on short notice when the previous opponent, Sean Brady, was unable to make the August 28 booking.
“I’m the one that’s a big name. I’m going to make Rodriguez’s name after this, he will get a little shine and that will be his bonus for stepping up,” Lee told BJPenn. “Even guys like Neil Magny, I feel like I would’ve made Magny’s star a little bigger [if he had taken the fight]. At the end of the day, it’s me that’s the star, and the rest of them are chasing it. I didn’t care who I fought.”
Although Lee (18-6) feels he will be gifting Rodriguez some shine inside the UFC Apex on Saturday night, the “Motown Phenom” also expects to put a hurting on Rodriguez (15-2). He doesn’t want fans to expect an all-out war that favors his foe because he thinks his substantial skill advantages will make their bout on ESPN a one-sided affair.
“Against a guy like Rodriguez, he’s going to try and make it a bloody, like drag ’em out fight … I’m going to beat him from bell-to-bell, I’m going to beat his ass, that’s all everybody needs to know,” Lee said. “I bring way more skills to the table, I think I have way more ways to win the fight. At the end of the day, the more well-rounded fighter will win. We both got heart, we both got grit, I think skills win.”
UFC Vegas 35 takes place on Aug. 28 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will kick off at 7 pm ET on ESPN+. Main card action follows at 10 pm ET and will simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+.