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

Credit: Scott Hirano, Invicta FC

As mentioned, Andrea Lee isn’t just a fighter, she’s also a mother. The Ultimate Fighter, of course, is notorious for sequestering fighters away from their families. With a young child, that’s not exactly ideal.

“I think about that, and how six weeks away not even being able to talk to my little one, can’t even face time her [would be]” Lee said of being away from daughter Ainslee. “It would be difficult, but there’s a lot of people that have gone into the house that have kids, and newborns, they were able to do it. Sometimes you gotta make a sacrifice, and it’s just six weeks of my life. I guess it wouldn’t be too bad. But it still would be pretty miserable.”

Speaking of motherhood, were her daughter to some day express an interest in fighting, would mom and dad back her? “Yeah, of course. We work wrestling, we work standup with her” Lee told us. “She has the capability of being one of the best in the world. She’s an athlete, at five years old. She can do so many things it’s incredible.”

Of course, she’s got quite the pedigree. That’s off in the future, mind you. For now, it’s mom who is in the spotlight. With two promotions, taking fights in both Invicta FC and Legacy Fighting Alliance. Champ in one, the possibility of winning the belt in the other. So does pulling double duty add pressure?

“I haven’t felt any pressure” Lee said, then added “other than neither promotion wants me to lose in the other. I’m sure that that could hurt me.”

“That’s the only pressure. I don’t want to make anybody mad. I would love to be able to fight for the Invicta flyweight title.” With a win at Invicta FC 23 on May 20, she’ll be that much closer to her goal. As she says, though, it is a stacked division. And she could be scooped up by the UFC before she gets the chance.

In any case, when she walks to the cage — where ever she walks to the cage — she’ll be sporting her trademark cowboy hat. It just so happens that one particularly famous cowboy, Donald Cerrone, hooked her up with a hat sponsor, InkBilly Styles based out of Colorado. So how did that happen?

“Cowboy had his hat made, and he was picking it up, and he said ‘maybe he’d be interested in sponsoring you, maybe he’d hook you up with some cool free hats.’ Because they’re expensive hats to be made, because he does it all by hand. Whenever we saw Cowboy’s we were like ‘wow, that’s awesome. We’d love to work with him.’ We wound up exchanging numbers, and he watched me fight and he became a fan. And now I have a hat sponsor, which is pretty awesome.”

That it is. The cowboy hat has become as much a part of Lee’s persona as the KGB on her fight gear. Starting out, Lee also became known for a fighter graciously willing to do interviews, and photo shoots as well, something she admits definitely helped build her fan base. So how about that Paige VanZant Reebok video, that caused a firestorm about a week back?

Lee admitted she hadn’t seen it, but gave her take on fighters using a bit of sexuality to get fans, and people attacking them for it. “That’s pretty dumb” she said of those harping on it. “She’s taken pretty sexy photos before, when she was an amateur. Some photos in bikinis and stuff like that.”

“She’s got this image as a sweet girl, that she’s created, so I guess people don’t expect that out of her, but I think it’s silly and stupid for people to criticize her for taking some sexy photos and trying to help promote Reebok. That’s her sponsor. She is sponsored by them, and I just think that’s [criticizing her for it] stupid.”

“In the beginning, when I had my first photoshoot, and did some sexy implied nudity — I wasn’t nude, but it was implied nude, I had panties on and you could see my back, you’d know that I didn’t have a top on but all you could see was my back — it was just kinda implied nudity. You still weren’t showing anything, you’re leaving something to the imagination, [but] I caught a lot of flack for that.”

At the same time, however, “It did help promote me like crazy. My name blew up overnight.”

“I have a lot of haters, and I have a lot of people that supported it. You do what you gotta do.”

Speaking of Reebok, what about the infamous Reebok deal in the UFC. Any hesitation about potentially losing sponsors?

“I don’t think that I’m going to lose my sponsors. I feel like all the ones that I’ve had with me, will still be with me. I’ll be able to promote them whenever I’m outside of the cage. I just can’t promote them the week leading up to the fight.” Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure, she admitted, but “most of my sponsors have been with me from the beginning and they’ll probably stick with me.”

And so they should, as Andrea “KGB” Lee could very well be the face of the flyweight division in the years to come.

So at this point in her career, is it UFC or bust, or would she like to take a few more fights in Invicta and LFA first?

“I want to make everybody happy, but I’m also here to make a lot of money. So I guess whoever offers the most money. Money is what talks [laughs]. It’s my career, and I want to make money and support my family, give my baby what she wants… if the UFC is going to offer me a great contract, then I guess the UFC is where it’s at.”

Catch Andrea “KGB” Lee at Invicta FC 23, live on UFC Fight Pass May 20 from Kansas City, MO.


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