Kevin Lee agrees to new deal with UFC, expected to return in spring

Former interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee is returning to the UFC.

Lee (19-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC) has agreed to a new deal with the UFC to begin his second stint with the promotion. His return to the octagon is expected this spring, although he currently does not have an opponent lined up. ESPN was first to report the news Monday.

Lee, 30, first joined the UFC in 2014, debuting against Al Iaquinta at UFC 169. He fought a total of 18 bouts during his first run with the promotion, headlining six events. His most impressive run included a five-fight winning streak to earn a shot at the vacant interim lightweight title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216. After coming up short in his shot at gold, he went 2-4, which lead to his exit from the promotion in 2021.

In his only bout after his release, Lee fought UFC Hall of Famer Diego Sanchez at Eagle FC 46 in March 2022, winning the 165-pound super lightweight bout by unanimous decision. Lee signed a four-fight deal with Eagle FC, but was able to seek out deals with other promotions and contemplated a move to PFL.

After changing management and joining Ali Abdelaziz with Dominance MMA, Lee will be “going back home” to the UFC to resume his fighting career.