Ahead of his Octagon return this weekend on the main card of UFC Vegas 35, former interim lightweight championship challenger, Kevin Lee has alluded to drug and substance abuse issues regarding former two-weight gold holder, Conor McGregor, following the Dubliner’s pair of recent losses. 

Lee, who features at the UFC Apex facility event this weekend, meets with Californian striker, Daniel Rodriguez on short notice having seen a pair of scheduled return bouts with undefeated submission threat, Sean Brady shelved

The Michigan native last featured back in March of last year in a UFC Fight Night Brasilia main event against recently-minted lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, where he suffered a third round guillotine choke loss. 

During the defeat, Lee suffered an ACL tear, and whilst recovering from a surgical procedure to repair the injury, suffered an ACL tear in his other knee — resulting in a lengthy hiatus from the Octagon. Booked to meet with the aforenoted, Brady at UFC 264 last month, Lee was forced from the tie due to a rib injury. 

Headlining that pay-per-view event last month, former undisputed lightweight and featherweight champion, McGregor suffered a fractured tibia in his left leg in his trilogy rubber match against Dustin Poirier, dropping a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss and his second defeat against the Louisianan this year.

Reacting to Conor McGregor’s recent skid, Lee offered some sympathy toward the 33-year-old, and maintained that he would still welcome a bout with him in the future, but alluded to some drug and substance abuse issues in regards to the Straight Blast Gym mainstay.

I see a guy who is very frustrated and kind of staying with the same old schtick, too,” Lee told reporter, James Lynch. “It’s not showing any growth in your game or who you are as a person when you rely on the same things that Conor (McGregor) brought him up a little bit.

But it’s gone to a different level,” Lee explained. “I dunno. Drugs are a hell of a thing. Drugs really take you out of it. I dunno. Best of luck to him, though. It seems like he’s going through a rough time, and it happens. But to me as a competitor, I never really looked at him, anyways. But of course, that fight still interests me, why not, why wouldn’t you do it? But I hope he’ll be able to pull it together.” (H/T BJPENN.com)

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.