MIAMI, Fla. – Kevin Lee knows the MMA world has high expectations for his fighting career, but he’s been unable to 100 percent fill those shoes.

The former UFC contender returns to action this Friday against veteran Diego Sanchez (30-13) in the main event of Eagle FC 46. Lee (18-7) makes his long-awaited debut at 165 pounds – a weight class he’s been advocating since his days in the UFC.

Although “The Motown Phenom” reached the highs of a UFC interim championship fight in 2017, Lee has always believed there are more levels left to his game than what he’s been able to achieve. Being too small for welterweight and too heavy to cut down to lightweight, Lee is confident super lightweight will be the place where he fulfills his potential.

“I think I left a lot of myself in the tub some of the times,” Lee told MMA Junkie. “I feel like I left a lot of fight in the tub. By the time I was getting ready to step in the cage, I was already worn out from the weight cut. This time I won’t have to deal with that so much.”

Lee feels the main differences now fighting at 165 pounds will be his conditioning and focus in the fight, something that was tough to have at 155 pounds.

“It’s the cardio,” Lee said. “It’s given me a certain calmness and confidence in my abilities now that the cardio is right and mentally I’m more there. I feel like those are the main things. More than adding a perfect high-kick or perfect punch, it’s been more on the mental side.”

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The 29-year-old knows there are high expectations on his performance on Friday night and he plans on delivering come fight night and kick off this new chapter of his fighting career on a win.

“I always feel pressure, but even more in this one,” Lee said. “When you have a whole promotion behind you, you have a lot of promo and things that I ask for behind it. Now it’s time to go out and perform.”

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