Women’s flyweight contender Andrea Lee will return to action at UFC San Antonio this weekend, and she’ll have a renewed focus on her ground game when she does.
Lee (13-6) saw a two-fight win streak snapped in her last outing, against Brazil’s Vivane Araujo. She’s hoping to get right back into the mix against Maycee Barber in Texas, however — and believes that working hard on her wrestling game has helped her in other areas, including her conditioning.
“Being able to focus on my wrestling more, actually get in and work it from the ground up has been helping me tremendously, because I’m able to understand it a lot better,” Lee told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “I’m learning traditional style wrestling. So yes, there’s going to be a lot of things that I probably will not use in an MMA fight, of course we don’t go in there and get the pin, but there’s a lot of control to wrestling, and I’m hoping that will help me better my ground game. And of course my defense in wrestling, takedowns, and also better help me to get my takedowns.”
The added benefit on top of that is that the wrestling training has helped with her conditioning as well. “I’m feeling really good in those areas.”
For “KGB” Lee, the Araujo fight made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Her partner and corner, Tony Kelley, was caught on a hot mic referring to Brazilians as “dirty” fighters, after Lee had complained about an eye poke.
“What was said was very unfortunate. He did say that in the heat of the fight; he was upset for me, he knew that I was upset. He has said, he should have articulated that differently, he shouldn’t have said it,” Lee said of the controversy.
According to Lee, Kelley reached out to Araujo after the fight. “We did talk to Viviane afterwards, we even confronted her about the eye poke at the hospital, and he even apologized for what was said and what they were going to hear.”
Lee reiterated that Kelley is not racist towards Brazilians. “I wish that things could have gone differently. I wish that I hadn’t even said anything, but I was irritated, pissed off and I guess he could just feel that. So he said what he said. I apologize, I wish it hadn’t happened, but unfortunately, it was said. He’s not racist, he doesn’t have anything against Brazilians, it’s just unfortunate that that happened. I hate that those words were even said.”
With the controversy hopefully in the past, Lee is now looking ahead to the future — as in Maycee “The Future” Barber.
“I think that she’s a great opponent. She’s tough, she’s aggressive. I don’t really know what to expect, for the fans to see,” Lee told us. “I think it’s going to be exciting.”
Lee knows that Barber can come out aggressive, and is ready to make her stand in Texas. “I feel like I’m just as aggressive, but she comes in, she likes to throw those big bombs, she likes to land big giant elbows. She can be very reckless I guess you could say, I would say that’s taking a big chance, but it’s worked out for her,” Lee stated. “There’s been a lot of girls she’s been able to overwhelm, they shell up and they don’t fight back. I feel like I’ll be prepared for that, and I will fight back. I’m not just going to let somebody throw big bombs on me and shell up and not fight back.”
Watch our full interview with UFC San Antonio’s Andrea Lee above.