For the first time in her career, Andrea Lee is entering a fight on a losing streak.
Lee will look to bounce back from consecutive losses when she takes on Roxanne Modafferi this Saturday on the main card of UFC Vegas 10. The event takes place at the UFC APEX and will be headlined by a strawweight matchup between Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill.
At UFC 242, “KGB” had a seven-fight winning streak snapped by Joanne Calderwood via split decision in Abu Dhabi. Lee would look to get back to her winning ways at UFC 247 in February and took on Lauren Murphy. While the fight was quite competitive, most viewers believed Lee had done enough to earn the nod—including every media member who tallied a scorecard on MMA Decisions.
In the end, two judges scored the fight for Murphy and Lee enters this Saturday in unfamiliar territory. For Lee, the two losses seem to be just what she needed to get an extra jolt of motivation.
“I feel like those two losses make me more dangerous,” Lee told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “When you go on a win streak, you just forget what it feels like to lose after you’ve run off a bunch of wins. You forget what it’s like to lose, then lose twice and it really sucks.
“I feel like I’m backed into a corner and I need this win. I’m planning on going out and giving it my all which should be enough to win some bonuses. I just want to be exciting, and I love Roxy—but it’s just business. When I go in there, I’m not fighting Roxy, I’m fighting an opponent and we both need to do what we’ve got to do.”
In addition to entering a fight on back-to-back losses, Lee will have the opportunity to negate a past loss for the first time in her career. The top-10 125ers competed once before at December 2014’s Invicta FC 10 event where Modafferi picked up a split decision in a hard fought battle.
The 31-year-old has a friendship with her upcoming opponent and that, in her opinion, will help lead to a barnburner in the octagon.
“We’re both going in there to try and beat each other’s faces in,” Lee said. “She’s been talking about this muay thai she’s been using, she wants to use her elbows and I welcome that. That makes for an exciting fight.
“She wants to use her elbows, I want to use my elbows. We’re going to happily go in there and try to beat each other’s faces in.”
A lot of fighters will look at avenging a loss as extra motivation. Lee is taking a different approach to her sixth promotional appearance due to the fact that the sport—and both fighters—have evolved so much over the last nearly six years.
“It’s not about avenging anything for me, it’s about getting back in the win column,” Lee explained. “It’s just about the next fight. I’m not a vengeful person and I’m not really sore about it. I’m not sore about my loss against Lauren Murphy. I’m not really sore about any of my losses.
“I hate to lose and look forward to rematching, but it’s not about redeeming myself, or proving anything to myself. I lost because of someone else’s opinion.”
Modafferi will also look to get back in the win column following a loss to Murphy in June. “The Happy Warrior” got off to a huge start in 2020 with a massive upset win over highly touted prospect Maycee Barber at UFC 246 in January.
Lee certainly feels like her back is against the wall heading into the fight: not only because of where it puts her in the division’s rankings, but for her bottom line as well.
“I don’t feel like I’m gonna get cut if I don’t win, but my marketing value continues to go down with the more losses that you have,” Lee said. “I’m trying to go out there like everything depends on this. I need this. I need this payday, I need this win, I need a performance bonus and I’m going out there to give it my all.
“In my last fight, we kept a pretty good pace. This time, I plan on an even faster pace. I’m gonna start strong and I don’t want to let off the gas. I’ve been working on my cardio, my endurance and it’s gonna play a big factor. No slowing down. I don’t want to be out there waiting. I’m going for the kill.”
When she enters the octagon on Saturday, it will be the three-year anniversary of her last finish in a fight—which took place in her final appearance before signing with the UFC at LFA 23.
Lee has gone through a lot of ups and downs in her personal life, mostly stemming from her marriage with, now, ex-husband Donny Aaron.
In August 2018, Aaron was charged with domestic battery after an incident in which he attacked Lee, and allegedly attempted to burn and choke the UFC fighter. Aaron went on the run and was eventually captured in May 2019 after nine months.
Lee admits that something has been holding her back in her last few fights. Now that she has let go of that anger and negative influences in her life completely, Lee can focus on raising her daughter and getting back to her exciting fighting style that put her on the map.
“I don’t know what it is and why it is,” Lee said in regards to not being able to fully pull the trigger in the octagon. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the UFC and I’m being more careful because I don’t want to lose, but that’s not the best way to go about it. Maybe I just carried more anger in those last few fights and I had to let it out in there, I don’t know.
“The mind is an incredible thing. I just know that I want to get that back. I don’t want to feel like I need to have anger inside of me that needs to let that out in the cage. I want to feel like I can go back to flipping that switch and it’s just out there to get the finish. Get the kill, get the win. I don’t want to hold back anymore. Whatever reason it is, I’m not really sure, but I’ve been working on that mentally. I want to be in there and be my old self.”