Interview: Andrea “KGB” Lee on Invicta FC 23, the Stacked Flyweight Divison, & Potential UFC Stardom

Andrea KGB Lee
Credit: Scott Hirano, Invicta FC

Andrea “KGB” Lee is an assassin in the cage, the inaugural and current Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight champion, and one of the most popular fighters on the Invicta FC roster. Not literally an assassin, of course. That’s just how she sees the nickname coined when she was first starting out. Teammates at her gym (including her coach and future husband, Donny Aaron) felt she looked Russian, and started calling her KGB. The name stuck. KGB Lee.

Deadly blonde KGB operative, training MMA. Makes sense.

Years later, with a chance at being Queen of two promotions, the sky’s the limit for KGB. Especially with the UFC having recently announced that maybe, just maybe, they’re getting into the women’s flyweight business. When they do, expect Andrea Lee to be ready.

First, however, there’s business to attend to. Lee spoke with Cageside Press about her upcoming Invicta FC 23 bout, the UFC, juggling promotions and responsibilities, and more just weeks out from her Invicta 23 fight with Liz Tracey.

Come May 20 at Invicta FC 23, Lee (6-2) will compete for the third time this year, taking on promotional newcomer Tracey (3-1). That’s an impressive, Cowboy Cerrone like pace. Is that something Lee intends to keep up? “It is. I do plan on, possibly having six fights before the end of the year” says Lee. “It all depends on what happens, if I get hurt or not.”

Hopefully not. The high workload is no stranger to Lee, who recalls fighting 14 times the year she turned pro (counting amateur, pro, and fights in other disciplines that year). She also returned to training just six weeks after giving birth to daughter Ainslee, and fought mere months after that. She certainly wants to stay busy, and so far, 2017 has afforded that opportunity.

The Tracey fight is one that, on paper, should favor Lee as the more experienced fighter. Tracey’s professional record is misleading, as she has a handful of amateur bouts to her name. Lee’s record, however, is even more misleading. With a background in boxing, kick boxing, and Muay Thai, Lee estimates she had somewhere close to forty bouts early in her fighting career. She went 8-3 in amateur MMA. She’s been a champion several times over, in basically every striking discipline she’s trained in.

In short, she’s very well prepared, but she’s not taking Tracey, whose wrestling game is strong, lightly. “I’ve got to watch a couple of her fights. I am taller, and I definitely have a reach advantage on her” Lee told Cageside Press about her opponent. “I know she’s going to come in, she’s probably going to try to take me down.”

If the takedown does happen, Lee isn’t sweating it. “I’m comfortable. If it does go to the ground, I’m comfortable there too. So I’m not really worried about where it’s at” she said. Of course, she’ll still be looking to end the fight on the feet. “I’m hoping to get the finish, I want to get the knockout, keep it standing, but if she takes it to the ground, it’s not going to discourage me in any way whatsoever ’cause I’m very comfortable there.”

Don’t mistake confidence for overconfidence, however. “Any fight is a dangerous fight. You never know what the opponent is going to bring, you don’t know how much better they’ve gotten since their last fight” Lee cautioned. “So I don’t plan on taking this fight lightly and underestimating her.”

“She can easily capitalize on something. Sarah D’Alelio capitalized on one of my mistakes and ended up finishing me in the third round after I’d already beaten the crap out of her for three rounds” KGB continued. “Anything can happen. I just need to make sure I don’t F up and get reckless.”

A smart approach by a fighter on the brink of stardom, who has built a considerable following almost at a grass roots level, through interviews, photoshoots, and of course, putting on entertaining fights.

While Lee likes to entertain, make no mistake, she’s in there to take care of business. Entertainment “still plays a big part” of course, but at the same time “I’m not getting paid by the round or the minute. The quicker I can get in and get out, it’s just way better. I want people to see a good performance and enjoy the fight, but I don’t feel bad if I finish a fight within a minute.”

Nor should she. Not when the 125lb division for women is about the break, big time. Bellator MMA has made a splash, recently signing a number of fighters to the division. The UFC countered by announcing that The Ultimate Fighter 26 would crown a flyweight champion on the women’s side (they later cautioned that plans were not finalized, but in all reality, it likely will happen). Suddenly, there seems to be a bit of an arms race between the two biggest players in the sport. While Lee has business to take care of at Invicta FC 23, ultimately, the bigger stage looms large in her future.

It’s an exciting time, and she definitely feels that.

“They’re finally fighting over the flyweights. Bellator is trying to bring in all the flyweights they can before the UFC signs them up” Lee explained. “And now the UFC finally opened the division, so all the flyweights eager to get signed with the UFC might hold off on that Bellator contract for a little while.”

For good reason. “I think there’s a huge buzz around the flyweight division, because the flyweight division is stacked.”

So what about that season of TUF? Were it to happen as originally announced, the tryouts would come just days after her May 20 fight against Tracey.

“I’m interested, but considering the tryouts are on the 22nd, and I fight on the 20th, I don’t really know if I’d even get to try out” she told Cageside Press. “There’s a lot of things to take into consideration.”

Ultimately? “I would be interested in doing it” Lee said, but “a lot of the top female competitors that are in the UFC right now, that are on top of the world, didn’t go to the house. I don’t think it’s going to hurt my chances of becoming a great UFC fighter, or even getting in [if she doesn’t go through TUF].”

On the next page, we talk more about the UFC, juggling two promotions, Paige VanZant’s infamous Twitter video and more!