#12 ranked flyweight Andrea Lee returns to the octagon in November at UFC Fight Night 197, in a fight that could give her a serious boost up the rankings.
Lee (12-5), a former LFC and LFA flyweight champion, is paired up with Jessica Eye, currently sitting in the #8 spot. Lee finds herself coming off a win over Antonina Shevchenko, which was arguably her best performance in the UFC to date.
“I just felt my mind was really clear going into that fight. I train hard all the time, but there was just a lot of things that I got to work on for that fight, that I hadn’t been working on in my previous fights,” Lee told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview ahead of her return. “I think being better prepared mentally helped a lot. When you’re stressed about things and your mind is focused on other stuff, just personal things— I try not to bring that stuff into my workplace, which is the cage, I try not to, but I guess sometimes you don’t realize how it really effects you.”
Lee described such moments as an out-of-body experience, as opposed to being present in the fight. “Sometimes you feel like you’re there, and then all of a sudden, I don’t know, you’re just like, watching yourself, looking down,” she explained. “Like my fight with Roxanne [Modafferi], I just felt like it was an out-of-body experience, like I just didn’t feel like I was there, I wasn’t in the moment. But in my last fight with Antonina, I felt like I was in the moment, I could see everything, I was dialed in, just everything was working good for me.”
Lee entered that fight hearing all about how Shevchenko was the better striker. Her immediate thought was “I can show you I’m just as good, I can strike with you if I want, and I can take you down if I want.” While she submitted Shevchenko in the end, the pair did stand toe-to-toe for a bit.
The win over Shevchenko hasn’t quite taken the pressure off “KGB” Lee, however. “No, not really,” admitted Lee, who had been on a three-fight skid prior to the win.
“I won that fight against Antonina, but the thought of my previous loss is still on my mind. The fight I had against Roxanne, it still eats at me. Because it was my worst performance, I do believe that,” she stated. “I’m still stuck with that in my mind. Even though I went out and had a great fight with Antonina, that one still eats me up.”
That in turns fuels Lee to go out and get the job done this November against Jessica Eye. “I know I need to go out there and I need to get another win. I don’t think I can just sit on this one,” she said. “You can never do that. People have short-term memory spans. They’re not going to remember my last win, they only remember what you’re doing currently. So I gotta get out there, and I gotta get another win, and I’ve got to continue to climb the ranks, so I can continue to prove that I’m not the same person that you saw in those last three fights. I’m much better than that.”
Eye has had her own struggles of late. She’s lost three straight, and has just one victory since facing Valentina Shevchenko in a failed bid for the women’s flyweight title in 2019. Lee is a big fan of the match-up, however, and in terms of styles believes Eye should be as well.
“I think that stylistically, this is a great match-up for me and for her. We both like to strike, we both like to stand and bang, but we’re both willing to take it to the ground.” Lee noted that Eye has strong dirty boxing in the clinch, some nasty uppercuts, and tends to abandon her takedowns after the opening round. But with herself, Lee added, “who knows. But I do know that she doesn’t really get tired. She’s tough, she comes forward like the whole time, and she doesn’t stop working. So I think it’s going to be a very fun, exhausting fight.”
Watch our full interview with UFC flyweight Andrea Lee above, where “KGB” talks about being mistaken for ONE Championship’s Angela Lee, her upcoming 2022 calendar, and more. Lee faces Jessica Eye at UFC Fight Night 197 on November 13, 2021.