Andrea Lee returns in just over a week’s time at UFC 256. “KGB” is in a tough spot, against a rising star in the flyweight division — Canadian Gillian Robertson.
Lee (11-5) had a brilliant start to her UFC career, winning her first three fights out of the gate, before going in the opposite direction and dropping her last three bouts. With that said, her wins were definitive, the losses, not so much — including a par of split decisions.
“The last couple of fights, I think I still fought well, but they weren’t wins,” Lee told Cageside Press ahead of her upcoming fight against Robertson. She’s not looking at the bout as do-or-die, but at the same time, “it definitely doesn’t look good. I don’t need another loss,” she admitted.
On the positive side of things, the promotion once again has her on a big card. UFC 256 is the final PPV of the year, though admittedly, when she took the bout, Lee was more focused on the timing.
“They have so many fights every weekend, I can’t keep up with the dates, which one’s the PPV event,” Lee told us. “To me, I was just taking another fight, it didn’t matter what card it was on. I was just happy to be able to get in there before the end of the year. But yeah, it’s flattering.”
Just prior to getting word that she would be fighting before the end of the year, Lee was part of Tecia Torres’ training camp. The “Tiny Tornado” will actually being fighting alongside Lee on the UFC 256 card.
“I got some really great work with her. It was really inspiring to be out there with her, and push with her,” Lee said of training with the strawweight. “I feel like that helped me out a lot. I’m glad I did that. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t be taking this fight.”
There will be plenty of talk about Andrea Lee’s losing streak heading into this fight. Three in a row can be a death sentence in the UFC. Four straight losses almost always means a pink slip. Lee, however, is trying not to think about that. She does admit, however, to having some mental struggles in her recent fights.
“Mentally I’ve been I guess having doubts and issues when I’m in there. I feel like I’ve been giving these fighters so much credit, and I’m not really believing in myself fully,” she explained. That, despite knowing that “I’m just as well-rounded, I’m just as talented, I’m just as great on the ground. But it’s like I’m not utilizing all my abilities and everything I’m capable of. I think it’s just time to turn it up, and crank my training up and do everything right.”
“I feel like I’ve gotten away from some things that I was really good at before, that people haven’t seen me do in a while,” continued Lee. “So I’m trying to just get back to the old me, and stop fighting so cautious.”
Lee cited her fight with Roxanne Modafferi as an example. After securing a takedown off a throw, “KGB” had an opportunity to capitalize — but as she put it, “I psyched myself out.” Instead of going to the ground, Lee pulled back. “Who knows what could have happened? I could have gotten on top, I could have controlled her for that round, I could have scored big on the cards, who knows? But I’ve been taking myself out of the fight, because I’ve only been relying on keeping it standing and striking, and I’ve been avoiding wrestling and clinching and grappling. Which I’m great at, and I know that. When I’m in the gym, I see that. It’s like it all comes back.”
“I’ve got to stop being so defensive, and I’ve got to start being offensive again,” she suggested.
When it comes to the reason for her mental struggles of late, “the L’s definitely weigh in a lot,” admitted Lee. But it’s more than just that. “I’ve been getting great training, but there’s a lot of things I’ve gotten away from that I’m used to doing in my training camp. Specific types of drills and stuff, clinch work, just grinding, and even sparring more,” she explained. “I’m not saying get out there and spar 100% or whatever, but I definitely need to be doing a whole lot more sparring, and just being pushed I guess the way I used to be pushed.”
The good news is, Lee feels that she has found what she’s been looking for in her current training camp. “I feel like I’m getting that right now, and I’m excited about that. I’m hoping to show that to everybody come December 12.”
Watch our full interview with Andrea “KGB” Lee above. UFC 256 takes place Saturday, December 12 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.